Remembering good things about Ayn Rand


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Barbara and Mike; Some really great material. My question to Barbara; Is any of the material from NBI question and answer available at all. Where they taped? Where the tapes destroyed.? Does anybody have any bootleg tapes?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is an anecdote I came across about Ayn Rand. I noticed this anecdote on the blog of a guy in India named "Ergo Sum." The blog is called Leitmotif: Reason as the Leading Motive and the entry is called Two Lovely Ayn Rand Anecdotes (August 7, 2006).

Ergo Sum wrote a story about Ayn Rand that was told on a radio show by a caller. The radio show was on the New Hampshire Public Radio hosted by Laura Knoy and was aired on Wednesday, February 2, 2005. You can hear it here. (It was an interview with Bernstein and there were several callers over the course of the show.) The name of the caller was "Bill," and from his voice, it sounded an awful lot like Bill Dwyer, although I cannot be absolutely sure. The date of Rand's speech at the Ford Hall Forum was not identified, nor was the speech that was given. I have transcribed Bill's anecdote word-for-word from the show.

The Ford Hall Forum had so many people that they had to put people out on stage. And there was this very lovely small blonde girl, maybe 12 years old, sitting on the stage off to stage right. And she was trying to ask a question during the question period, and Ms. Rand couldn't see her because she was behind Ms. Rand.

And then finally several of us pointed to the young girl. Ms. Rand turned to her and said, "What's your question?" And she stood up and said, "Why is so much emphasis put on people were not able? Why isn't there any emphasis put on bright people?"

And Ms. Rand almost became teary and said, "My whole philosophy is intended to try to make the world better for you."

And her face... her voice... was so touched by that young girl that she asked the young girl to come back and meet her afterwards.

I wonder if anyone has a tape or CD of the Ford Hall Forum lectures and can check to see the exact words that were said. It sure sounds a lot like Rand.

Michael

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Chris: " My question to Barbara; Is any of the material from NBI question and answer available at all. Where they taped? Where the tapes destroyed.? Does anybody have any bootleg tapes?"

Question and answer sessions were taped by NBI in conjunction with the taping of the lectures, and were sent as a package to our other cities. However, in order to be duplicated for distribution to our other cities, these tapes were sent to the company that did duplication for us. When NBI closed, they were never returned to us -- and, I am told, are now in the possession of ARI.

Barbara

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Here is an anecdote I came across about Ayn Rand. I noticed this anecdote on the blog of a guy in India named "Ergo Sum." The blog is called Leitmotif: Reason as the Leading Motive and the entry is called Two Lovely Ayn Rand Anecdotes (August 7, 2006).

Ergo Sum wrote a story about Ayn Rand that was told on a radio show by a caller. The radio show was on the New Hampshire Public Radio hosted by Laura Knoy and was aired on Wednesday, February 2, 2005. You can hear it here. (It was an interview with Bernstein and there were several callers over the course of the show.) The name of the caller was "Bill," and from his voice, it sounded an awful lot like Bill Dwyer, although I cannot be absolutely sure. The date of Rand's speech at the Ford Hall Forum was not identified, nor was the speech that was given. I have transcribed Bill's anecdote word-for-word from the show.

The Ford Hall Forum had so many people that they had to put people out on stage. And there was this very lovely small blonde girl, maybe 12 years old, sitting on the stage off to stage right. And she was trying to ask a question during the question period, and Ms. Rand couldn't see her because she was behind Ms. Rand.

And then finally several of us pointed to the young girl. Ms. Rand turned to her and said, "What's your question?" And she stood up and said, "Why is so much emphasis put on people were not able? Why isn't there any emphasis put on bright people?"

And Ms. Rand almost became teary and said, "My whole philosophy is intended to try to make the world better for you."

And her face... her voice... was so touched by that young girl that she asked the young girl to come back and meet her afterwards.

I wonder if anyone has a tape or CD of the Ford Hall Forum lectures and can check to see the exact words that were said. It sure sounds a lot like Rand.

Michael

I think you'll find this in "Ayn Rand Answers." Can't find my copy in all my clutter. I don't think she's IDed as a little girl. She was on the right side of the stage as you face the stage. I think that's referred to in the theater as "stage left." I was on the other side of the stage. I think there was a group of nuns seated to the rear of the stage. After the question but, I think before the answer, Ayn applauded the little girl, so did the audience. Probably 1971. If Ayn got teary I couldn't see it from the other side of the stage as she was turned away from me.

--Brant

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Barbara; Thanks for your reply. I suspect since NBI is never refered by ARI they will never be available. If you never talk about something it of course never existed. Isn't that called blanking out?

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  • 2 months later...

Here is a beautiful post by Ellen Stuttle on another thread giving the beginning of Barbara Branden's essay Who is Ayn Rand?.

Michael

I'll quote the whole passage. It's just beautifully written. Barbara is and was then a very skilled writer.

This is the start of the title essay of Who Is Ayn Rand?, © Copyright, 1962, by Nathaniel Branden. Random House. (I don't know why there wasn't a separate copyright for BB's piece.)

[Extra paragraph break added for easier reading.]

"To hold an unchanging youth is to reach, at the end, the vision with which one started."

It was a world of irresistible gaiety. It was made of the music that tinkled arrogantly against crystal ovals of brilliance strung across the vast solemnity of the ceiling--music that danced defiantly on the soft, faded elegance of velvet drapery and on the stern white marble of glistening walls--music that surged upward through the stately grandeur of the opera house, carrying, in its rise, the laughter of a weightless exultation. It was made of graceful bodies whirling in effortless motion on a stage held in light rays, of silk gowns and radiant smiles and gleaming top hats--against the backdrop of a huge window which framed the painted image of lighted streets and the skyscrapers of a foreign city, sparkling and beckoning in the distance.

Beyond the walls of the theater--beyond the reach of the operetta--was a city of unending grayness: the grayness of crumbling buildings and crumbling souls, of stooped shoulders and bread lines and ration cards, of chronic hunger and chronic despair and the odor of disinfectants, of steel bayonets and barbed wire, and marching feet moving in a grim parade of death to sudden arrests in the night, of weary men crushed to their knees under waving flags and clenched fists. Only the flags and the fists relieved the grayness: the fists were stained, by a different dye, the same red as the flags. The city was Petrograd. The year was 1922.

A slender young girl with large eyes sat high in the last balcony of the opera house, leaning forward tensely, listening to the meaning of the most ecstatic sounds she had ever heard. The bright notes sparkling and leaping in the air around her and the reckless gaiety of the scene spread out on the stage below, were carrying a message to her, and a promise They told her there was a sunlit, carefree world--a world of unobstructed action, of unobstructed fulfillment--somewhere beyond the dark night and the darker horrors, and it waited only for her to claim it.

She listened with grave solemnity to the promise--and she gave a promise in return: that if she could not be the physical citizen of that glittering world, she would be its spiritual citizen. She took her oath of allegiance, with passionate dedication--with the gay score of an operetta as the holy bible on which she swore--an oath never to let the reality of her true homeland be dimmed by the gray exhaustion of a life lived under the alien weight of the ugly, the sordid, the tragic; to hold the worship of joy as her shield against the sunless murk around her; to keep burning within her that fuel which alone could carry her to the world she had to reach, the fuel which had kept her moving through her seventeen years: the sense of life as an exalted, demanding, triumphant adventure.

Thirty-five years later, and more than five thousand miles away, the young girl was to erect a monument to that music, and to the sense of life she had never lost or betrayed. The monument was Atlas Shrugged. The girl was Ayn Rand.

The next paragraph starts, "Ayn Rand was born on February 2, 1905 [...]."

Today is February 2, 102 years later.

Ellen

___

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  • 7 months later...
Here is the description of the first meeting between Barbara and Ayn Rand from The Passion of Ayn Rand, pp. 234-235. The time was March 1950 and the place was Rand's ranch home (designed by Richard Neutra) in Chatsworth, CA, near Los Angeles. Rand was 45 years old.
I no longer recall what I said or what Ayn said when we were introduced and I first heard her husky, Russian-accented voice. The total of my concentration was on the visual reality of the woman who stood before me. At first, I saw only her eyes—and I had the sudden, odd feeling, a feeling gone before I could grasp it, that I was naked before those fiercely perceptive eyes, and alone—and safe. It was the beat of a long moment before I could wrench my glance away to capture the full figure.

(snip)

Michael

Michael -

I just watched "The Birth of Objecitvism - Volume 2" last night. Highly recommended. Barbara Branden's recollection of this meeting (and those eyes) is fascinating. Watch Barbara's demeanor and listen to her voice as she recalls...

Alfonso

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[...] Barbara Branden's Passion of Ayn Rand [...] constantly gives me the impression that it was a work of love for Ayn Rand, not one of hate, as it is too often misrepresented.

Likewise. I keep being amazed when people interpret that book as an attempt to denigrate Rand. (I understand why people might do that: because they feel that anything which could be considered negative about Rand is a denigration. But I still feel amazed contemplating how differently such people must be reading the tone than I do.)

Ellen

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Ellen -

Yes. Much of the book is far more a tribute to Ayn Rand. Read the last chapter out loud - inspirational writing, in tribute to an amazing person.

Alfonso

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OK, after these latest posts, I'm more and more leaning toward reading Barbara's book, dammit.

I think I have a mental block about the whole field of biography and I'm not quite sure why, since I'm generally an omnivorous reader. For some reason, I don't think I will learn as much as if I read another history book, even though I'm intelligent enough to know that doesn't quite make sense, as I am interested in people and in psychology and in a good personal story. I have Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography sitting on my shelf unread for a decade, even though I love Benjamin Franklin, have heard many good things about it, and it is a classic. I also have some biographies of great scientists which I have no inclinations to crack open. Does this mean I'm a thoroughly evil person or only two-thirds??!!@#$%^*(%@

You haven't read Passion of Ayn Rand? Stop, do not do anything else, and purchase the book. Clear your calendar for what will probably be a full day spent doing nothing except reading the book. You probably will not be able to put the book down. Barbara Branden did a magnificient job of what is actually a TRIBUTE to Ayn Rand. Her critics (quite a few of whom profess to have never read the book) betray a total lack of understanding in their attacks.

Alfonso

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Alfonso; Your view of Passion is absolutely correct.

Chris -

Every wonder how it can be that some read (or DON'T READ!) Passion of Ayn Rand and conclude that Barbara Branden was trying to MALIGN Ayn Rand? Branden's admiration is so visible throughout the book, especially in the crescendo in the final chapter.

Alfonso

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