The Market for Objectivism


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That was one fine post!

I'm still laughing.

Very similar to a guy I knew in Brazil who claimed he had been a big shot in Ghana (I think his name was Nagidudo). He used to tell me that all drugs should be legal.

His argument was from serenity (as was yours). Let's do it right:

Argument From Serenity

There! That's better!

Mr. Nagidudo said that between 10-20% of humanity is hopelessly perturbed. Don't put them in your taxi-cab as a driver because they will wreck the car. Don't put them in your factory because they will destroy the machinery. Don't put them your stores because they will crap on the merchandise.

They are perturbed.

The only time they are at peace is when they are asleep. And they are the ones who most seek drugs.

So let them leave their misery. Let them get high and stay that way. Thus they will be physically unable to bust up stuff.



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I often wonder how my few excursions into humor will play out. I am not a party animal, as surely anyone soon learns from my posts. But every now and then, if you are both observant and benevolently inclined, you might find a little twist that could be interpreted as humor.

But, damn, I was mostly serious! Continuous faulty arguments are a severe form of pollution. I do enjoy a home that does not resemble a cess pool.

Alright, mine is very cluttered, with too many books and magazines. But clutter is not filth.

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I feel your pain. To be frank with you, when Kat set up OL, I gave her a little grief because I was starting to write a book at that time (which I now work on from time to time) and I knew this place would take time to do right.

I have since become grateful that she did precisely because of the cesspool reason. If you wish to see a cesspool, I made a list of names I have been called on other forums (scroll to the 11th post).

I get a kick out of it, actually, but the sad part is that is a true indication of what others choose to do with their discourse. Every name came from a post. And this "cesspool" that was extended to me is habitually extended to others, sometimes in even worse terms. Simply stated, I don't want this kind of crap in my life unless it is humor within a proper context (on OL, that means done with talent, of which there is oodles). Thus, I have chosen not to respond in kind, although I used to do that.

A question grew in me:

Would you like to share an intellectual community with your loved ones where many people call you asshole on down when they disagree?

Then came a second question:

Can you blame people for running to churches in droves for nurturing their moral needs if this is the alternative?

Here on OL, I have tried very diligently to encourage a certain type of person - one who does not always agree with me, but one who takes ideas seriously. I am proud of our little community - the quality of person is very high. The regular posters here do not distort facts and logic, neither ignore issues, because they are selling a bill of goods. They are all keenly and honestly committed to ideas and they know that the others are also. Growth and learning are deliciously rampant.

When I look at the bickering level of practically any other Objectivist forum, then I look here, I get the feeling - not just the metaphor - of Atlantis, but the oasis aspect of it. I feel relieved. I have seen several places try this, but they go after an elitist environment - a Galt's Gulch where each one is one ia s Randian hero). The bickering gets quite bitter since none of them are.

Strangely enough, merely looking for a place out of the rain where good discussion about Objectivism and the ideas Objectivism raises could ensue, I think an elite group of people has gathered - a moral elite - people devoted to rational ideas and good will toward each other. I admire the people here, both intellectually and spiritually. I can say without reservation that every poster here has enriched my life - and you know you, especially, are one of them.


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Rational Objectivists --- Now that should be seen as repetitive. Unfortunately it is not, if you take everyone who claims to be an Objectivist at his word. But at OL, the Objectivists are rational beings, as they should be.

Yes, OL is a much more worthwhile forum. Much more will be accomplished here.

I hope I have made it clear to everyone here already that they are respected and appreciated. I really, really want to thank you and Kat for your effort in providing this forum. I hope it grows with more and more rational Objectivists and becomes a very positive influence. It should if you hold a steady course.

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The only way to encourage people to venture into new areas of thought is by creating a benevolent environment. Few people are willing to venture onto new ground if they believe any level of disagreement will be met with a pitiless attack. The environment in which any attempt to be innovative is guaranteed to be a painful event, encourages a mental timidity. When someone defies the barriers to thought, they are often met with derision for being so presumptuous. Often the fact that a genius preceded them is trotted out to prove that this is exactly what they are. Their argument, however, is ignored as an argument. Authority or simple derision are the answer. This creates a stultifying environment.

The main reason why benevolence for others is so important is because it means that others at least start at a point of respect and value. When any society fosters this attitude of where the starting point is, then the trade of ideas and services is greatly facilitated. There need be no respect for evil and, indeed, if there is, then the good is undermined. But one does not leap to the assumption that someone is evil too readily or that their ideas are without value. If you do, then why would anyone want to share an idea with you or work for or with you? Why should they cast pearls and get nary a pork chop in return?

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The only way to encourage people to venture into new areas of thought is by creating a benevolent environment. Few people are willing to venture onto new ground if they believe any level of disagreement will be met with a pitiless attack.

Charles, who are these "few people" that are willing to venture onto new ground?


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The only way to encourage people to venture into new areas of thought is by creating a benevolent environment. Few people are willing to venture onto new ground if they believe any level of disagreement will be met with a pitiless attack.

Yes, Ciro, I totally agree. Well, I posted at RoR on what the fighting looked like to an outsider's perspective; I do not consider myself an Oist but I have been on some forums where if you disagreed with the Borg majority, you were banned after being ridiculed. From a marketing perspective, this DOES NOT SELL.

What does sell? Rational tolerance. True respect for an individual's honest, useful, contextual interpretation of a vague text. No vibe for people to have to conform. A step-backed approach to considering Rand's ideas-- good AND bad. A place where one can learn to see philosophy as a guideline. Acknowledgement that what is known now may change with new knowledge. If evolution were any clue to anyone, a rigid, non-changing, stubborn structure would only be inhibitory in a changing environment.

As Peter Senge points out about organizations:

"Well, there’s obviously a much more profound way to say this, but we basically create organizations, which are like matter. They are manifest, right? Rules, regulations, structures. And then, we become prisoners of those organizations. So you can see how disintegrating this is.  

First off, we often don’t take any responsibility for what we have created, which is obviously patently absurd at some level. Organizations work the way they work because human beings create them that way! It isn’t the laws of physics. And then people’s baseline reality, what they often report, is that “the system is doing it to me. Our reward systems are killing us. Our strategy is no good.” It’s always something external to me, some thing which is now imposing itself on me. So you might very well say, “Thought creates organizations, and then organizations hold human beings prisoner,” or as David Bohm used to say, “Thought creates the world and then says ‘I didn’t do it.’"

One very simple way to think about everything we are doing is to just take that simple aphorism of Bohm’s and say, “Thought creates the world”; and then what if it says, “I did it”? That would be the reintegration of mind and matter. That would be like saying, “Oh! Our organizational systems are ridiculous. How did we create these?”  

To me, the essence of what systems thinking is all about is people beginning to consciously discover and conceptually explain and account for how their own patterns of thought and interaction, often very habitual and unaware patterns, patterns that we haven’t ever reflected on, manifest on a large scale, and create the very forces which the organization then ‘is doing it to me.’ And then they complete that feedback loop, and the most profound experiences I’ve ever had in consulting have always been when people suddenly go, “Holy cow! Look what we are doing to ourselves!"

I like his "organizational learning" objectives, as they can be used for anyone considering setting up an organization to teach others. These aren't to be taken as rule or anything, but I think of them as goals, or guidelines to see how an organization matches up, in terms of its customers, how it progresses, and what the results are like:

Guiding Principles of SoL

Drive to Learn - All human beings are born with an innate, lifelong desire and ability to learn, which should be enhanced by all organizations.

Learning is Social - People learn best from and with one another, and participation in learning communities is vital to their effectiveness, well-being and happiness in any work setting.

Learning Communities - The capacities and accomplishments of organizations are inseparable from, and dependent on, the capacities of the learning communities which they foster.

Aligning with Nature - It is essential that organizations evolve to be in greater harmony with human nature and with the natural world.

Core Learning Capabilities - Organizations must develop individual and collective capabilities to understand complex, interdependent issues; engage in reflective, generative conversation; and nurture personal and shared aspirations.

Cross-Organizational Collaboration - Learning communities that connect multiple organizations can significantly enhance their capacity for profound individual and organizational change.

Ideals of the SoL Community - Our Commitments to Each Other

Subsidiarity - Make no decision and perform no function at a higher or more central level than can be accomplished at a more local level.

Inclusiveness - Conduct all deliberations and make all decisions by bodies and methods which reasonably represent all relevant and affected parties.

Shared Responsibility - Advance the Purpose in accordance with these Principles in ways which enhance the capacity of the community as a whole, as well as that of each member.

Openness - Transcend institutional and intellectual boundaries and roles that limit or diminish learning.

Adaptive Governance - Continually conceive, implement, and practice governance concepts and processes which encourage adaptability, diversity, flexibility, and innovation.

Intellectual Output - Use research generated by the community in ways that most benefit society.

Acknowledgment - Openly and fairly acknowledge intellectual contributions to Concepts, Theories, and Practices, both from within and from outside the community.

Participation & Quality - Contribute to and/or participate in research, capacity building, and practice, striving for the highest standards of quality.

from this page:

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Of course in many aspects of our lives in America, people are fairly encouraged to speak their minds. Because American business encourages workers to speak up more than many workers in many other countries are, it is much more productive. The encouragement for people to speak about their lack of religious belief is less, so many people who do not believe in god never say so.

Among those who call themselves Objectivists, many seem to be williing only to have those ideas which are in vogue at ARI, for instance. Of course, there are also many who are fearless. But, even the more self-assured people do not contribute after a time where the rancor becomes such a distraction that they simply cannot make much progress in discussions toward greater understanding of the issue. Some forums simply become boring for this reason.

I have read over 100 posts by Holly Valliant, for instance, and I was constantly disappointed that I could not find a rationally argued point. I was really impressed, however, with her passion for a certain dogmatic viewpoint. Apparently that is all some people want to see.

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Jenna, you wrote:

A place where one can learn to see philosophy as a guideline.

This is precisely my understanding of the function of philosophy - even to the point of an overly literal interpretation. Philosophy is merely a line to guide some basic thinking and nothing more. We fill in the blanks with actual living, where the real value of being lies.


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