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Suvine

My years with Ayn Rand

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I just finished My Years with Ayn Rand. I did not sleep two nights ago. I could not stop reading it.

I felt so much reading that book. I am amazed at the patience he had. I do not have that, If I do not like something, I quit. But he perservered.

Also those were long years of school. He had a lot of unique insights, like about self esteem and also emotions, how they are a form of your unconscious. I believe that. Especially when feelings clashed. I am going to buy his other books.

I was very sad at the end. It was a lot to stomach. I wished everything turned out a better way.

I eat very healthy and do not eat meat, or smoke. Also, processed foods affect your emotions and you suffer with ill health. Back then, people ate very unhealthy and I am wondering if that had something to do with an otherwise perfect philosophy. Like if Ayn ate her fruits, maybe she would have lived longer, cured cancer and been really kind and generous?

This book moved me very much.

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Well, philosophically speaking, nutritional science is politicized to hell. For example, the PETA lobby advocates the idea that humans are no better than rats, etc. This flows through to all the think tanks they fund, like the Center for "Science" in the "Public Interest" and the "Physicians" Committee for "Responsible" "Medicine" who produce reports saying that the only healthy diet is organic veganism.

Speaking of the organic food movement, "The high-priestess of organic-only eating, Joan Dye Gussow, has complained for years about business interests intruding on her church. "When we said organic we meant local," she wrote in 2002. "We meant healthful. We meant being true to the ecologies of regions. We meant mutually respectful growers and eaters. We meant social justice and equality." (http://consumerfreedom.com/news_detail.cfm/headline/2334)

In other words, the organic food movement is not interested in health at all. They are merely a bunch of anticapitalist whackos who hate modern processed food because it is produced by big business, and in the end they hate modernity, human progress, and industrial civilization (and any civilization where humans adapt the environment (in their words, "rape mother earth")).

So as such, Objectivists have good reason to be skeptical about any claims about the alleged health of "natural" food ("natural" means, to the eco-fascists, "untouched by humanity"). Mainly because the movement is largely (not universally but largely) dominated by philosophical misanthrophy (like Aldo Leopold's "Land Ethic" that says mankind's interests matter no more than the green tree frog's).

Most environmentalism is based on a philosophy that romanticises a life 'in harmony with nature' and sees technology as alienating and soul-destroying. What they fail to remember is that the medieval days were monstrously miserable. They basically idolize an animal's existence and damn the human mode of existence.

Thats pretty much why Objectivists are skeptical of the whole 'health' culture, and I can understand why. I am skeptical of it too, since I love meat (even raw! Beef Carpaccio is heaven!), I drink and smoke, and I dont live the paragon of a healthy lifestyle. And I adore gourmet food.

If you genuinely believe that your current lifestyle is the best thing for your health, and you have examined the evidence, then I encourage you to keep your current lifestyle. It is moral for you to act on your own first hand judgement of the facts. However, I think that Ayn herself, as well as many Objectivists, have many reasons to question the "healthy meatless lifestyle" movement, since much of their motivation is philosophically very, very, very different to ours.

Also, Ayn lived for 77 years. That is a pretty good run I think.

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I am amazed at the patience he had. I do not have that, If I do not like something, I quit. But he perservered

Suvine, are you talking about Frank? :laugh:

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Well, regarding eating healthy... there are a lot of different people giving advice from a lot of different viewpoints.

I think that meat and fat have an undeserved bad reputation. I think it depends on how the animals were raised. I've read that grass-fed meat is healthier for you (more Omega-3's). Also, we actually need fats, but we need to eat good fats, including animal fats. And it's the vegetable fats which go rancid more quickly... too many Omega-6's (and trans-fats, such as in margarine) actually will predispose a person to cancer.

From what I've read, I think that although vegetarianism or near-vegetarianism is useful for detoxification (some alternative medicine, anticancer diets are semi-vegetarian for a time), it might not be the total answer for all people for the long term.

I think that people from different ethnic backgrounds *might* have evolved to tolerate different diets.

Some folks can get by with a higher-carbohydrate diet than others. Me, I am type II diabetic, so a high-carbohydrate diet is out. I eat meat, and I like to eat meat. I also eat vegetables. It's hard to stay away from too many carbs... it's somewhat harder to stay away from them because my significant other likes them a lot.

Also, people of different ethnic backgrounds have a different reaction to dairy... some are lactose intolerant, at least to pasteurized cows' milk, but some can tolerate raw cows' milk or goats' milk.

Also... soy products, which are touted everywhere as being "healthy," actually have some problems. Soy is actually anti-thyroid--it suppresses thyroid gland function, among other things.

So... from what I've read so far, there is not one final answer to what's good for all people to eat.

Also: Next year, I plan to attempt to transition my cats to a mostly-raw-meat diet ("bones and raw food" or BARF). I already have the grinder to do this. From what I've read, it makes sense to me that since cats are obligate carnivores, they should be eating mostly meat, and they should be eating it raw.

Pam

Edited by Pam Maltzman

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Also: Next year, I plan to attempt to transition my cats to a mostly-raw-meat diet ("bones and raw food" or BARF). I already have the grinder to do this. From what I've read, it makes sense to me that since cats are obligate carnivores, they should be eating mostly meat, and they should be eating it raw.

How long and well do cats live in the wild?

--Brant

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Also: Next year, I plan to attempt to transition my cats to a mostly-raw-meat diet ("bones and raw food" or BARF). I already have the grinder to do this. From what I've read, it makes sense to me that since cats are obligate carnivores, they should be eating mostly meat, and they should be eating it raw.

How long and well do cats live in the wild?

--Brant

I can't speak for all cats out there... but on the average it is not as long as they live indoors. You also have to ask: What causes of death might a cat face outdoors versus indoors?

Outdoors, they might get hit by a car. They might get eaten by a coyote or other predator. They might get poisoned or killed by humans who hate cats. All of these might happen regardless of how well they are taken care of by their owners.

I had a beautiful tortie cat (indoor-outdoor cat) who ran under the wheels of a car at the age of only about 2-1/2 years. I also had a handsome gray-and-white male cat (indoor-outdoor and later indoor exclusively)who only lived to 9-1/2 years because, from what I could see, he probably had cancer, and I chose to euthanize him rather than see him suffer any longer.

One of my current cats is a 10-year-old who was formerly fed a crap commercial diet, and now seems to be in better health because I feed her better. She came to me with a container full of cheap, high-carbohydrate, grain-based crap food.

She had horrible breath. She turned out to require an expensive teeth cleaning and extraction of two teeth because of her formerly bad diet, which needed to be done at the same time as treatment of an ear hematoma (one of the other cats swatted her). That was pretty expensive treatment. I think she had a chronic, low-level, systemic infection going on, because she was given a course of antibiotics along with the other treatment, and she is now more lively and active.

She's still a carbohydrate addict--she will leap over tall buildings to get certain treats. Fortunately she also likes meat.

As I see it, there are several trends going on which can determine how long a cat lives.

An indoor cat with a low level of exercise, on a high-carb commercial diet, might actually live to 15 years, but he also might be diabetic and in renal failure from the excessive carbohydrates which are found in many commercial diets. Also, an exclusively dry food diet is thought to predispose them to renal failure in later life. Expensive veterinary care might patch him up for a while, but he's not going to be as healthy as he would be on a diet with lower carbs and which includes raw meat.

I think that the arguments against humans eating an all-canned-food diet or all-fast-food diet are also valid against cats or dogs eating an all-canned-food diet.

Regardless, my reading leads me to believe that my cats will be healthier if I upgrade them to a raw-meat diet. I've got a book called "Raising Cats Naturally" by Michelle Bernard. I think what she's written makes a lot of sense. I recently bought a meat grinder, and I will probably start introducing them to a raw-meat diet early in 2008.

I think they'll live longer if I feed them better. It's also less expensive to feed your animals well and avoid the expensive veterinary bills down the road. Some of the people who advocate a more natural approach to the care and feeding of cats claim that their animals regularly top 20 years, which is a long time for a cat.

It's also good to know just what your cats are eating... personally, I want to AVOID having my cats die because of questionable food imported from China (had you heard about the BIG pet food scandal?). I don't want my furbabies dying from contaminated pet food.... so my thinking is that on several counts, my cats will be better off if I make my own pet food for them. Grind up whole chickens or other meat, add certain supplements, and there ya go. The only hard part will be getting them to eat it, because cats are creatures of habit and will often refuse to eat a new item.

Hey, two different people might live to 80 years or even longer. But one might get there by eating healthy, exercising a bit, taking vitamin supplements, avoiding excessive smoking and drinking, and undergoing oral or IV chelation therapy; and the other one might have had three bypass operations, heart valve replacement, dialysis, and leg amputations.

My significant other has a friend who's in his 70s, and he is one of the latter types of people. It's lucky for him that he made a lot of money in his younger years, because he's having to spend a lot of it now to get patched up in the hospital every few months.

Personally, I will never have that much money. I'd prefer to attempt to keep myself healthy and out of doctors' offices. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Edited by Pam Maltzman

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Pam and Brant, I did put my cat on all meat diet. They eat stomach contents of animals in the wild so I do mix in some vegetables. My cat loves it. Its weird chopping up chicken with bones and all.

I do better, think clearer when I add more fruits and veggies to my diet. I really do. I feel good inside. Have more energy..

Studio, you are right 70 is long time to live. Some people say in proportion to our maturity age we are supposed to live until 130. But who knows. They compare animals in the wild and how long they live..but noone can compare humans to wild animals. Or can we?

Its also the quality of life one has...anyone can live on medications/hospitals but to live well and healthy...and feel and look good until death, like to die naturally..instead of from attack, disease or cancer..that is nice. Don't you think?

Edited by Suvine

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I just finished "Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand".

I am on a book buying diet (oh it so painful!) and have been borrowing what I can from our local library. Anyway, I just checked out whatever edition they had, and apparently the one I read was the first one. I am not sure if there are a lot of differences between this and the new one (I wonder, because I think I read some where that Barbara liked the revised one better? I am not sure where I read that, so I could be wrong...but I digress....).

Let me just say that before reading this book, I expected that it would not harm my view of Ayn Rand or of Objectivism at all. And after reading the book, well, I was right.

While I was actually stunned at some of the personal details (um, there was a little TMI - but perhaps NB felt he needed to mention it all to give context), I wasn't really surprised at the story.

I have to say that I am glad I read it because while I consider myself a non-denominational student of Objectivism :) I would rather read different sides of the whole NBI implosion story myself. Reading this book didn't dissuade me of thinking that Ayn Rand was a genius (yet flawed - but who isn't), and did make me appreciate Branden a bit more. After all, it is pretty amazing that anyone can go through all this and still be productive afterwards. I haven't read Barbara Branden's book yet, but from what I know so far (through her posts here and what I have read about her online, etc.) it is amazing that she went on to be so productive as well. Lessor people, I think, would have let this whole thing define and possibly destroy them.

Despite how Ayn Rand's character seem to change the last several years of her live, I have to say this book was a bit more uplifting than I expected. I am sure Barbara's book will be too.

I am looking forward to hunting down The Passion of Ayn Rand next. I already have the movie on my list on Netflix, but I would rather read the book first.

I was thinking Who is Ayn Rand after that, in terms of my biographic quest here. (I already read Leonard Peikoff's years with Ayn Rand in the back of the OPAR book a few years ago. I rather enjoyed that too, but of course, it isn't as detailed.)

And then, after that, I think I am going to retire from reading about this period of time for a while. This book was an exhausting read (I started reading it Wednesday night and stayed up until 6:30 AM Thursday to read most of it, and finished it today), I can only imagine the roller coaster for everyone involved living it!

I am very glad he shared his side of the story.

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Its also the quality of life one has...anyone can live on medications/hospitals but to live well and healthy...and feel and look good until death, like to die naturally..instead of from attack, disease or cancer..that is nice. Don't you think?

Oh, I'm not doubting that to be in-fact-healthy is very good. What I am skeptical of is many of the claims made about how to be healthy, especially when quite a number of these claims come from think-tanks with an ideological commitment to organic veganism and environmentalism. I honestly think these think-tanks literally manufacture lies for the sole purpose of advancing their ideology; an ideology which does its best to demonize the products of human intelligence (in this case, by saying they literally kill us).

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Studio, you are right 70 is long time to live. Some people say in proportion to our maturity age we are supposed to live until 130. But who knows. They compare animals in the wild and how long they live..but noone can compare humans to wild animals. Or can we?

Its also the quality of life one has...anyone can live on medications/hospitals but to live well and healthy...and feel and look good until death, like to die naturally..instead of from attack, disease or cancer..that is nice. Don't you think?

And the years of man shall be three score and ten or by reason of strength four score. Ps. 90:10

The 70-80 years lifespan goes back a long way, long before tobacco, fast food and the Easy Life. This old age was prevalent in a time when people had to work harder physically than they do now. So it probably is not the diet or the lack of exercise that limits human life span. Clearly, if we took better care of ourselves; watched our weight, had sufficient physical activity, avoided harmful substances (including tobacco smoke and too much booze) and consumed less sugar we would live healthier lives and feel a lot better in our old age, but it is not at all clear that we would live a great deal longer than we are living now.

The biggest single factor in extending human life span from what it was at the end of the 19th century is clean water and less exposure to bacterial infection. Fewer people die from typhoid and cholera. At the end of the 19th century industrial societies got back to a state which Rome enjoyed at her height. Clean water and decent waste disposal. Around 1940 the scourge of early death from Gram positive bacterial diseases such as pneumonia was achieved and fewer people died young from such causes.

I am seventy three and I would not have lived this long without anti-biotics. I have two two bouts with pneumonia which almost certainly would have killed me if I had been born ten years earlier. Now we live long enough for cancer (which is the inevitable result of the cessation of cell divisions in health cells after fifty subdivisions or so) and senility to kill us. Their is an old Greek saying: The fish rots from its head down. So do humans.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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