Ellen Stuttle Posted February 15, 2006 Share Posted February 15, 2006 [i tried to post this in the "Statements from those who knew AR" thread, but that thread is locked. MSK is welcome to move this remark there if he thinks it's appropriate to do so. ES]I interrupt my retirement from listlife to recount a remark which Allan Blumenthal made about Ayn Rand. I've read the journal entries in PARC -- just the entries themselves, skipping Valliant's interspersed "exegeses." As I anticipated would be the case, I'm finding the memory-lane trip engendered by my reading her words painful. Among many associated memories, I kept thinking over and over again as I read the long entry for July 4, 1968, of a particular comment of Allan's. (The quote starts with an "and," since it occurred in the midst of a series of reflections.) "And there are some subjects about which she knows nothing," he said, "like music and painting. But if you try to explain to her, she'll tell you you're wrong. And then she'll call the next day to ask if you've thought about what she said, and if you say 'no,' then it will be long discussions of your psychoepistemology. Conversations with her were not a pleasure."Of course he was highlighting the negative when he told me this. He'd by then split with Rand (several months previously) and was looking back on his relationship with her. He'd found value as well as displeasure in conversations with her, else he wouldn't have remained her associate as long as he did. But I felt as I talked with him that day that what he was saying confirmed my own disinclination to avoid getting "too close" to Rand's near orbit. And reading the journal entries thoroughly confirms a sentiment I expressed in one of my SOLOhq posts to the effect that I shuddered at the thought of "psychological counseling" with Rand. She constructs an entire edifice of "explanation" in those July 4 notes to herself, an edifice which I'd describe as being more in the nature of philosophic invention than of psychological "detection." (Granted, she makes a few perceptive points, but the total explanatory edifice she builds is artifical.)"But she's being denied major facts," the response might be made. Yes, she is. And, yes, as she says several times she suspects, there is something conscious operative in Nathaniel's problems. He's lying to her; he's actually having an affair with Patrecia, and has been having an affair with Patrecia for several years. But I submit that had Ayn been astute at detecting psychological signs, she'd have had enough evidence from her "stomach feelings" within the first few months of Nathaniel's and Patrecia's affair to discern what was going on. He's clearly been talking about Patrecia to Ayn often; there's even been some form of "Patrecia break" between Nathaniel and Ayn (the details of which aren't specified). And she's had opportunity to observe Patrecia and Nathaniel together -- hence to pick up the "vibrations" between them. Geez, I picked up the "vibrations" -- the body language -- between Ayn and Nathaniel on a public -- a very public -- occasion (the only time I saw the two of them together) years before the Split. (The occasion was her MacCormack Place speech in fall of '63; I was sitting in the front row a couple seats to the right of the podium facing the podium. And I was watching specifically for the body language, since I already had suspicions of a romantic involvement between the two of them.) How much more opportunity did Ayn have for observing Patrecia and Nathaniel together? Why didn't she see? (Reading her journal entries, I kept feeling the desire to reach back through time and to say to her, "Where are your eyes, woman?! Open those large eyes of yours and look!") I feel that, supposing I had never heard of Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden before reading the journal entries, supposing I was reading them as my first knowledge of the persons involved, I would suspect just from details she reports that what Nathaniel was consciously hiding from her was an affair-in-progress with the young woman in the scene. Ayn comes across to me as...so naive.It's odd. I used to think of her (affectionately) in the years between spring '63 (which is when I learned of, subscribed to, and acquired all the then-back issues of The Objectivist Newsletter[/]) and fall '68 (which is when I moved to New York City) as "my naive genius." I always did think of her -- and I mean from my first reading of Atlas[/] (June, 1961) -- as lacking in psychological insight. My feeling is that her journal entries analyzing the circumstances with Nathaniel scream out that lack. I feel so sorry across the distance of time for all of the persons involved.Ellen___ Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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