Philip Coates

Forty Year Decline or Stagnation of Objectivism (1967-2007)

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Forty Year Decline or Stagnation of Objectivism (1967-2007)

The flagging of momentum, the loss of people, the loss of a systematic educational "pipeline" for Objectivism was caused by a series of unfortunate decisions taken by Objectivist leaders (and by their followers who imitated them) over the last forty years. It can also be seen by contrasting the stagnation or lack of growth of the movement to the growth of conservatism over the same period.

The movement really started with a small circle of people in Ayn Rand's living room around fifty years ago when Atlas was published and the idea of writing about and then teaching the philosophy came to life.

Forty years ago, Objectivism *the philosophy* (not merely casual readership of the novels) was growing rapidly under the aegis of the NBI courses and the Objectivist magazine, which together were training Objectivists by the tens of thousands. When a movement produces well-trained, confident, assertive, well-rounded intellectuals in their twenties, in another generation they will begin to have an impact. That is exactly what happened about twenty years later, in the 1980's with the Reagan Revolution and all its eager activists and with the Thatcher Revolution and with people like Martin Anderson (who helped destroy military conscription) and Alan Greenspan. A movement like that can have an influence on related movements such as on prominent conservatives, even if they are not total converts to Objectivism.

Fast forward forty years (from the late sixties) and there are no longer tens of thousands of Objectivists emerging from courses and training in the ideas as there were when NBI produced them nationwide and even overseas. And one 'proof' of the absence of thousands of these enthusiastic 'graduates' is the backsliding of the conservatives. Into religiosity, appeasement, big government, corruption, and religiosity. As witness the post-Reagan administrations, the two Bushes, father and son, and the post-Thatcher administrations in England.

The timing matches up. Here are the 'pratfalls' of the Objectivist movement from '67 on:

1. '67-'68 Split into two warring camps. Demoralization. Closing of NBI.

2. Slow regaining thru the seventies of education for the half that remained with Peikoff's slowly developing one course after another. And the tape lessee system. But, far from increasing, the number of students was a *small fraction* of those from the previous era.

3. Shutting down of the tape lessee system and instead selling the course as taped lectures at *extremely high cost* to individual purchases one on one. A still greater drop in people being educated in the philosophy and related subjects and in applying the philosophy.

4. Resulting loss in understanding the ideas for the last twenty years (I witnessed a steady shrinkage on both coasts and in several states and at annual conferences -- how fewer people I would meet completely understand the system).

5. Slow regaining in the '80s of beginnings of some movement momentum. This was tiny compared to NBI...hundreds rather than thousands...but was facilitated by the Thomas Jefferson Institute and its summer conferences beginning in '83. By '89, thing were just starting to improve, and the feeling of there being an actual 'movement' could begin to be felt...and joint projects (like ARI, campus clubs, lecture tours) were getting off the ground.

6. '89 Split into two warring camps. Demoralization. Breaking away of David Kelley and his followers. ARI loses half its support and its momentum...which takes years to recover. The Jefferson School loses momentum and ultimately collapses. IOS starts very small. Some momentum but excruciatingly tiny--less than a thousand people, years later.

7. Neither faction or group has the good sense (or perhaps the manpower and intellectual resources) to restart the education and training program of the NBI or Peikoff courses eras.

8. Fast forward nearly twenty years to 2007: IOS->TOC->TAS has begun to shrink (it was never very large). ARI has been growing, but is still a fraction the size and impact of NBI from nearly forty years ago. The clearest evidence of that is the complaint by its executive director that there are not enough trained Objectivist intellectuals to fill a dozen or two opportunities for them to fill academic or activist slots. They have the good sense to have restarted education and training with the Objectivist Academic Center, but the many thousands of prospects who enter the essay contests or read the fiction in the schools are still producing only on the order of a hundred (or less) people a year, not all of whom will do anything....compared to the tens of thousands taking comparable courses under NBI.

9. At the same time, ARI has alienated itself from natural allies and converts among the classical liberals and conservatives by insulting them, and refusing to deal with them...or in the former case expelling people who even go to meetings of them or book signings to -even speak- to them. Even if it's to try to convert them. Movements only grow by having an influence on more diffuse but larger groups in other more 'lukewarm' or untrained movements...or in the sympathetic but uninformed groups which are the wider concentric circles around them. ARI loses in goodwill and openness to listening from these groups and individuals by this policy. TOC has tried to build bridges rather than alienate, but they have shrunk to a handful of people and are viewed as ineffectual (perhaps even by those potential allies?), so their impact is negligible. While ARI has been graduating a small number of the next generation of Objectivist intellectuals, skilled, confident, polished, knowledgeable, TOC has been graduating approximately zero. ARI has succeeded in planting a few Objectivist professors in academic philosophy departments but the number is ludicrously tiny...and their impact in terms of graduating classes full of Objectivists or gaining Objectivism respect in academic philosophy is still more a dream than a reality.

10. '07 Once there is any sign of momentum or growth in the movement, there will usually be an opportunity for differences to show in how to apply the ideas or in concrete issues or personalities. And those differences are always handled by purges, factions, schisms, and loss of momentum as disillusioned people in large percentages leave Objectivism or intellectual activism permanently. They crawl into a hole, lick their wounds, and pull the hole shut after them...or they write document or blogs opposing Objectivism and blaming it for ruining their lives. Hardly likely to cause the movement or the ideas to appear attractive to outsiders.

The more recent glimmerings of possible future factionalism and bloodletting have come with several bloggers or website owners who spend most of their time castigating the purity of anyone who doesn't completely understand and apply Objectivism correctly. The most recent example was castigating the purity of those who did not choose correctly on a concrete issue: which of the two very flawed political parties in the U.S. is worse and will do most harm.

Conclusion: Objectivists have been better at quarreling among themselves, arguing over second-order issues, than in investing always rare time in learning the ideas, applying them, and changing the world.

It is always possible for that to change. But first one has to admit error. And...like an alcoholic who refuses to believe he has any problems and blames everything including his failure and problems on the rest of the world...or, worse, proclaims he is totally successful and has no problems... if one does not admit there are problems and that one is so far unsuccessful, one does not have the reason or the will to take a hard look at correcting the problems.

The Objectivist movement has enormous potential. A genius founder, brilliant writer, inspiring ideas. And most important - the truth, the philosophy of the future.

But even the best of ideas cannot succeed if they are not spread properly. Or if the people who want to spread and apply them serve as poor or repulsive role models. Or don't understand a difficult and tricky system of ideas. Or if they are unwilling to work together and build a community that is appealing and provides a first customer base and source of energy, troops, activists, customers, new ideas, new thinkers.

,,,,,

NOTE: The contributor-supported non-profits have an interest in 'hyping' their own work in glossy newsletters. But the proof of stagnation in the growth of the movement or its impact on non-Objectivists comes from comparing those breathless claims of progress or major projects with the lack of any real breakthroughs when one reads the same reports from five or ten or fifteen years ago.

What is needed is to correct the past mistakes before future or present projects will have any but the tiniest impact on converting people to Objectivism. Or even finding it interesting. Or even being aware of its nature. Or its existence.

NOTE2: The increase in readership of the novels is not identical to an increase in the number of Objectivists emerging after having read the novels.

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Phil;

This is an excellent post. The very small stickler I would raise is were the numbers as high as you state in the 60ths.

I think there were problems in the last part of the 60ths not just involving the Split. NBI was cracking down on non-NBI related activities with Henry Hozler serving as the enforcer.

Finally on your point about the present. The numbers attending the TOC Summer Seminars have been declining and my expectation for Towson is that the decline will continue.

I don't see a happy ending to this story. What is your solution?

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Great post, Phil! How many people have you met recently that you think completely understand the philosophy (I don't consider myself to be within that group)?

Jim

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Phil,

I have a few comments.

1. I agree with your analysis of the time-lines, but with one observation: when NBI and the later Peikoff courses were going, Rand was still alive and showed up at times. This is an important factor that should be included as an element for your analysis. With her absence, what was a bad habit with her (the schisms) became fatal to an organized movement. But there is another part that could be examined by looking at her absence. What could replace her presence? I'm serious. This needs to be dealt with and right now I do not have any answers. I know the main characteristic, though. It must be something valuable a person can only get on the movement's premises by personally going there.

2. What, exactly, is a movement? I am talking about the concretes. Looking at religion helps. A religion stages periodic meetings (sermons), holds classes, publishes literature, collects donations, builds buildings, holds social events, sends out missionaries, performs charity projects, and so on. From this core, it forms ad hoc projects to influence legislation and expands to foreign countries.

What would an Objectivist movement be? Looking at NBI, I perceive periodic meetings (lectures), classes, literature, sales (instead of donations), social events, and missionaries (understated but existing).

What do you imagine a movement nowadays to be in concrete terms?

3. In terms of the spread of Rand's ideas, I wrote The Ayn Rand Love/Hate Myth. My theory is that only about 1% or less of Rand's readers become involved in any movement (and 1% or less in any movement against). The problem with the spread of Objectivism like this is that it becomes an intellectual grab bag. I wrote:

Here’s the reality: The majority of people who have read Ayn Rand are too busy living their own lives to have a passionate opinion, other than liking her work enough to buy it and read it – or being at least curious enough to do so. People do love her works and become influenced by her ideas, but, for most, not all that dramatically. They also buy many other books and read them, so Rand’s works in their lives compete with the ideas of countless other authors.

This reality has a strong positive side and the Atlas Shrugged movie will increase it even more. It is like heated prairie grass: if the right wind blows on it, you have a gigantic blaze.

I think promoting a movement is a good idea, a practical one, but I also think the organizations that have existed up to now should be left to do their own things. Instead of trying to fix them, something new should be tried. The problem with this something new is that it usually results in a personality fan club to the detriment of all else.

This is not an easy problem. However, riches and influence await the one who solves it.

Michael

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Michael;

Good post! As I said earlier this is a very important topic.

I was thinking of Atlas Shrugged with another book it is compared to. Uncle Tom's Cabin Uncle Tom's Cabin was released in 1852. Less than 9 years later the United States was in a civil war about the topic of the book. Fifty years after Atlas Shrugged was published it has certainly not lead to a civil war. I suspect that almost every literate American knew about Uncle Tom;s Cabin. Everyone had not read the book but millions saw it the stage. Atlas not reaching movie stage as kept form really reaching the culture.

Let me also recognize the Alcott was plowing already fertile soil. Many of the stories were already known to many Americans. Ayn Rand in her own words was challenging a mortal code of 4,000 years. She was starting from scratch.

Ayn Rand said she did want to start a movement. When the founder does not want to start a movement it's very hard to start one.

Edited by Chris Grieb

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Phil,

You have done a fine job of describing a “Forty Year Decline or Stagnation of Objectivism.” Your essay is informed and passionate, and it surveys the relatively brief history of Objectivism pretty much as I see it. I cannot argue much with what you say.

I would like to add an additional related point or two. Perhaps any difference in nuance that I might project is because I am primarily focused on a very long view of history (perhaps best called a style of “perennialism” in my overall worldview). I also have modest philosophical training as well as a strong ongoing interest over the decades in the history of ideas. And I do know, Phil, that you also have a sound knowledge of the disciplines of history and philosophy yourself.

I am very grateful that my bedrock philosophical training started with Rand and the early Objectivists in the 1960s (the “founding documents” of Objectivism so to speak), although it has not been limited only to them. But I can say that, from my own perspective on the history of ideas, I am not surprised by Objectivism’s erratic course thus far. Even as an 18-year-old, the 1968 Split did not surprise me really that much, because my reading of history let me know that humans do these things (i.e., romantic misdirection, striking out in pain and anger, etc.) – even my heroes. Maybe I am a closet cynic. A hopeful cynic.

Phil wrote:

“Conclusion: Objectivists have been better at quarreling among themselves, arguing over second-order issues, than in investing always rare time in learning the ideas, applying them, and changing the world.”

Well said. Most of the major philosophies (and religions) have their great founders, brilliant pupils and loyal followers, but through time we see that schisms, splits and spats are the norm. In many historical ideological schisms, the points of difference are often absurdly minor. A lot of this has to do with one-upmanship and control issues, e.g., “I am the supreme mouthpiece of the Absolute Truth, and you are but an idiot/ slacker/ heretic/ evader/ piece of shit….” Etc.

Historically it is often the case that the more powerful and urgent the moral idealism is in a religion or philosophy – i.e., the more intensely that the stakes are perceived to be about immediate good and evil – the more intense and nasty are the disagreements and divisions over the smaller details. And Objectivism is infamously moralistic and contentious. In light of the histories of powerful worldviews, I would have been surprised if Objectivism had not exhibited such an ugly and divisive course, even as short as its history really is. Why should Objectivism be any different? Because it is true? Well, this might be the case, but there is always something about radically and urgently proclaimed moral philosophies that attracts a few cultist mentalities as well as more reasonable individuals.

Also, the slow spread of Objectivism should not be that surprising, as it is in many of its elements a *new* philosophy, historically speaking, and mankind does not digest radical new things that quickly. It usually takes time and a lot of thought – a lot of dialectical development or chewing – to really “sell” a philosophy on a wide scale. Modern technological means of communication may speed things up, but it will also speed up transmission of bad ideas, religions and philosophies. Your assessments of recent Objectivist institutions also pointed to much of the short-term problem.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, “It’s earlier than we think.” I am looking at all of this in a long, long historical perspective that dwarfs my own short lifespan. In history, Aristotelianism once thrived and then dived into obscurity (at least in the West), and then was successfully rediscovered. Where would Ayn Rand be without Aristotle? His ideas ignited many a flame throughout the centuries.

For a fictional analogy, Roark’s reputation as an architect was like an underground stream springing up in expected places. We cannot predict where or how powerfully Rand’s ideas are being processed this very minute in the minds of various thinking individuals throughout the world.

Phil wrote:

“The Objectivist movement has enormous potential. A genius founder, brilliant writer, inspiring ideas. And most important - the truth, the philosophy of the future.”

You are an optimist and a fighter, Phil, and it is inspiring to see. Perhaps any of our differences in focus and emphasis is due to the fact that you still are full of fight and energy, piss and vinegar, while I am a retired and worn-out foot soldier in the war of ideas.

Years of teaching high school history and philosophy at the highest pitch of intensity I could muster ended up contributing in a major way to the destruction of my health. (Just writing this post is excruciatingly painful.) I had put my heart into teaching and I loved it, and it is frustrating that I do not fully know how successful I may have been. I may have planted a few seeds of thought. I like to think so. I know that I inspired scores of students to study more history and/or philosophy when they went to college. And all of my philosophy students had a good intro to Rand.

Lastly, I confess, I am a bit of a heretic, reading heavily from the list of perennial greats among the Western thinkers (and many from the East as well), and I have strayed widely from the Objectivist “straight and narrow.” I may be secretly hoping to chew the sum of these various ideas through a kind of Aristotelian dialectic and turn it all into a glorious epiphany before the end of my lifespan. Stay tuned. But don’t drop out.

But, seriously, doesn’t Objectivism have ultimate survival value for humans? And doesn’t that in itself suggest hope in the long run? It is unfortunate that evolutionary time – intellectually speaking – is often so long. But, if man is truly a rational animal, things may someday sort themselves out.

-Ross Barlow.

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I don't see a happy ending to this story. What is your solution?

Here's my solution:

With what I've seen of the Objectivist movement over the past 7 or 8 years, I've been thinking that it's not very realistic to expect that most Objectivists (including the "leaders," and those who aspire to be) will ever learn and develop the skills in Phil's Category 3 (people, social, communication, persuasion, leadership, organizational and teamwork skills). You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

So I think that Objectivism's best chance of having any relevance out there in the world would be for most Objectivists to skip the whole notion of going through all sorts of painfully ineffective, complex training programs, and instead just do the opposite of what they would normally do. Instead of trying to do the impossible of developing positive traits, why not use their God-given negative traits to their advantage? I say take the lemons that life has given them and make lemonade. For example, if you're an Objectivist, you love Objectivism and hate stuff like socialism, right? So why not start preaching socialism? Rather than driving people away from an ideology that you love, you could be using your personality deficiencies and extreme lack of people skills to drive them away from an ideology that you hate!

J

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Ayn Rand said she did want to start a movement. When the founder does not want to start a movement it's very hard to start one.

Hi Chris

I don't know what Rand did or didn't say about this. but purely from your text, I'm wondering whether you may perhaps have omitted a "not" in the first sentence.

Best regards

Adrian

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Hi Adrian; You are absolutely correct!

I don't know if anyone else is reading Radicals for Capitalism but I can see Miss Rand not wanting to start a movement. At least two individuals Leonard Read and Robert LeFevre were very involved in cults.

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So I think that Objectivism's best chance of having any relevance out there in the world would be for most Objectivists to skip the whole notion of going through all sorts of painfully ineffective, complex training programs, and instead just do the opposite of what they would normally do. Instead of trying to do the impossible of developing positive traits, why not use their God-given negative traits to their advantage? I say take the lemons that life has given them and make lemonade. For example, if you're an Objectivist, you love Objectivism and hate stuff like socialism, right? So why not start preaching socialism? Rather than driving people away from an ideology that you love, you could be using your personality deficiencies and extreme lack of people skills to drive them away from an ideology that you hate!

Jonathan,

That is so spot on that it is almost not as hilarious as it is.

One thing that makes me weary in online discussions is the level of make-believe of these nasty critters. They do not have a real enemy. They conveniently stay away from the real deal. But they can brag and bluster, so they have to do a make-believe enemy to scratch their itch. They accuse people of believing all kinds of things, and they know full well that such people do not believe in them. Then they attack with vituperation as if such people were the enemy. For instance, if they are feeling especially insecure and impotent one day, they know that ranting and railing against despicable altruists who will usher the country into slavery will make them feel better. They get a mighty itching to attack something (and then pretend they are Rand or one of her heroes). So they wait until a person says that it is a good thing to help a handicapped person cross the street or something like that, then off they go against him.

This gets tiring to watch and be involved in.

I predict that Objectivism will start being a real movement again when reality is valued more than make-believe by those who engage the public—not all, because that would be impossible. But at least the majority. Today's percentages are not good.

I call the present practice the Virtue of Bickeringness.

Michael

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Lots of very good and thought-provoking posts and questions!

I will be delayed in posting a response, but it's because I'm at the end of a school term....

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Phil,

You often speak of Objectivists not fully understanding Objectivism. Have you ever thought of putting together and distributing online a comprehensive test which would measure whether or not people understand the philosophy according to your standards? Do you think that such a test might be a valuable tool in helping people to recognize which areas they might need to work on, and in inspiring them to study more vigorously? Might such a test be a more effective means of making your point, and of motivating people to do something about it, than the methods you've tried so far?

J

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That's a good idea; I'd like to take such a test as well. I think I understand Objectivism quite well, and I don't think it requires years and years of intense study ... but maybe I'm mistaken. (only problem is, we may not agree on the correct answers to the questions - the test could end up testing the degree of our agreement with Phil! :laugh: )

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Phil could make the creation of such a test a joint effort in which he, with his knowledge of education and training, would outline the categories and main points that he thinks the test should cover, and he could then invite the members of all of the online communities that he visits to get involved by contributing questions and answers. Where there is disagreement, the issues could be debated, and Phil could dispassionately decide which answers were most effectively supported by evidence and rational arguments, or he could appoint a committee of interested online O'ists to do so, or he could find any number of other means of deciding. (With such a joint project, even incorrect answers could be beneficial: they could be used as very tempting false options on multiple-choice sections of the test — a good test offers options which are difficult to select from, and errors that are common among Objectivists would be perfect false options.)

And, obviously, the hope would be that such a project would have many benefits in addition to ending up with a good test, such as getting Objectivists working together on a common, productive goal, inspiring them to focus their thinking, challenging them to demonstrate to themselves and others what they know, allowing them and others to discover which areas need to be taught or studied better, and motivating them to learn.

J

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> Have you ever thought of putting together and distributing online a comprehensive test which would measure whether or not people understand the philosophy

Jonathan, yes I have thought of that. I was thinking of it as being part of the entrance test for my putative Objectivist school. Since that's probably not going to happen, doing it as you suggest may be a better, more immediate idea. But the problem may be that people are often aware they don't understand the philosophy comprehensively, but they don't think it matters. A lot of people will take the test and get a 65 and then shrug it off, rationalize it away - "well, Phil's questions were unfair", or debate for fifty posts whether or not the answer to question x was a good one.

It's a lot of hassle for a movement that I don't see as going anywhere right now. Or as outside of my power to 'jump start' since I have no position, no name, no influence.

So perhaps what I'll do this summer is put a toe in the water and just create a tiny handful of questions without investing hundreds of hours....then if the test gets crapped on or ignored, as I suspect will happen, I'll just drop it without getting furious that I've shouted into the wind futilely once again. And wasted a -huge- amount of my time.

Again.

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Phil, I hope you do create a test. I'd like to take it. Maybe you could do it semi-privately so that we don't get into long public debates about it. Of course it shouldn't just be something you're doing for us, though. I think one of the benefits for you would be to gather some data that shows you where common deficiencies in understanding are, which might give you some ideas for essays to write.

P.S. Don't think that you don't have any influence!

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I agree with Laure. I had a chemical engineering professor once who said that students go through an "undergraduate" phase where they are mostly trying to understand the subject. Then you go through a graduate phase where you can innovate and do derivations and proofs on your own. The same is true with Objectivism.

Jim

Edited by James Heaps-Nelson

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Jim,

From what I have observed, this is not a complete description with Objectivists. They first go through a preliminary phase where they do not really understand the issues involved except on the surface, but are able to remember a lot of catch-phrases. Then they go about preaching the catch-phrases to everyone, including stray cats and dogs, and generally trying to save the world.

The undergraduate stage comes much later.

Michael

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Jim,

From what I have observed, this is not a complete description with Objectivists. They first go through a preliminary phase where they do not really understand the issues involved except on the surface, but are able to remember a lot of catch-phrases. Then they go about preaching the catch-phrases to everyone, including stray cats and dogs, and generally trying to save the world.

The undergraduate stage comes much later.

Michael

That's OK Michael. I also missed the stage where they call everybody a Nazi who doesn't agree with them :laugh: .

Jim

Edited by James Heaps-Nelson

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Phil

Thank you for your synopsis of the last 40 years of Objectivist history. As one who respects Objectivism without embracing it completely, I have to agree that the pure ugliness of the "I'M IN CHARGE HERE" attitudes is a great incentive for non-true believers to stay away. All the adjoining posts were also quite interesting (especially Jonathan's "socialist advocacy" post :lol: ).

Also apropos Michael's first post, I think his comment about comparing a movement to a religion was more dead-on than anyone else here has been willing to acknowledge, at least in terms of recognizing patterns of human behaviour within organizations. First of all, moo. Mooo. MOOOOO! Herd of cows? OF COURSE I'VE HEARD OF COWS.

But aside from the herd mentality that you get in a religious cult, there is a book which addresses the problems of fractionation that you addressed entitled Historical Drift: Must My Church Die? by Arnold L. Cook (with the foreword by K. Neill Foster). The book is subtitled "Dimming Vision, Shifting Values, Fading Passion: How to Detect, Diagnose, and Reverse the Trends." The link is to the Amazon page with a review of the book. Though some might find the religious terminology a turn-off (if not completely obtuse) I can still recommend it as a symbolic parallel of the very problems that Objectivism has encountered -- because people are people, and patterns of human behaviour can be reproduced in disparate communities (no matter what they profess) -- because they are human.

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I think Phil's educational program would be interesting to see. Objectivism presents a unique challenge. A presentation of its abstract structure has to be as cognitively economical as possible, while still being complete and there has to be a rich empirical dataset at each node in the structure.

I'd be especially interested to see what he thinks is most important on his test. Having only a barebones background in philosophy, that might give me some indication of what to go after.

Jim

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I hope you don't mind if I interject with a few comments from someone from another 'movement' - General Semantics. First of all, I have read NO books about Objectivism and my exposure is limited to reading here and there on the net. I have been a practitioner of GS for around 25 years (I'm 52) and have studied Korzybski's work fairly extensively.

I guess GS is slighly older than Objecitivism, Science & Sanity was published in 1933, but I'm not sure when Atlas was published. At the beginning GS looked like it was going to make significant inroads into popular education and AK founded the Institute of General Semantics (it all sounds familiar, eh?) Then there was a split into 2 factions, etc. and declining interest etc. It's been called a cult (that ever happened to Objectivism?), unfortunately Hubbard and Scientology got associated with GS. So I feel for you guys!

Tom

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When I attended college in the early 60th we used in our English class Language in Thought and Action. The book was a popularized introduction to General Semantics. The textbook author was S I Hayakawa who was later President of San Francisco State. He fought the student radicals in the 60ths and was as a result later elected to the US Senate.

After a lecture by Leonard Peikoff I asked him if he was going to talk about General Semantics. He said no and he didn't plan to talk about phrenology either.

As you know if you have read some of the posting on this web site Objectivism has been called a cult.
I must add I remember very little about the book and its ideas.

Edited by Chris Grieb

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> I'd like to take such a test as well....only problem is, we may not agree on the correct answers to the questions - the test could end up testing the degree of our agreement with Phil! [Laure]

Laure, you say that like it's a bad thing. :)

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