North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Conversations: Nathaniel Branden & Ken Wilber

Conversations: Nathaniel Branden & Ken Wilber

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A former member
Post #: 174
To all,


Nathaniel Branden is not an Objectivist any more. Ayn Rand ask him not to use the name " Objectivist " many years ago. He did however wright for her newsletter in days gone by. I do get E-mails from Nathaniel Branden's web site from time to time. Yet I have learned a few things from him. I also hope that you may also. It is on a MP 3 file. I hope you guys like it. The perview is free, yet you can buy the rest if you like it. There are also a few things worth reading on his home page as well.

http://www.nathanielb...­

This is a link to his homepage also

http://www.nathanielb...­



Jamie
A former member
Post #: 11
Hey Jamie,

This is always an interesting topic to me, and one to which I have not devoted enough time.

What happened between Nathan Blumenthal and Ayn Rand such that he would become Nathaniel Branden and then, most interestingly, break with Rand so suddenly?

I recall the story told in the movie "The Passion of Ayn Rand," as I can recollect it from the one time I saw it years ago. Their sudden break with one another certainly fits the profile of an affair gone bad (in my own personal experience, at least).

But I can also recall being told by another Objectivist at one point that to listen to Branden's side of the story is to believe one of Rand's enemies. Be that as it may, I'm very interested in his side of the story, even if it is somewhat suspect that he seems more inclined to talk about it.

---Jay

Now playing: Queen, "Under Pressure."
A former member
Post #: 179
Jay,


" I recall the story told in the movie "The Passion of Ayn Rand," as I can recollect it from the one time I saw it years ago. Their sudden break with one another certainly fits the profile of an affair gone bad (in my own personal experience, at least). "


You and I see it the same way, that is what I also understand
" Their sudden break " to be about as well. Now I do not know all about this deal. Yet that is the way it was in the movie as well as in the book. Yet you & I know how movies can really twist things all out of wack. We could be right or wrong as well. Does anyone else know enough to make a a post in regards to this matter? Maybe Todd or Mitch may can help us understand what the deal was. They have been around the block a time or two.


" But I can also recall being told by another Objectivist at one point that to listen to Branden's side of the story is to believe one of Rand's enemies.... "



As someone that tries to find the truth as I am, & as I am sure that you are as well Jay. I can see nothing wrong with reading his side of the story. Even with the split, I would not call him one of Rands
" enemies, " as some have done. That may be a strong word. Yet I do not know the full deal either. So they may be right with that term to use for him as well. Yet as far as I can tell, he still seems to be on our side of many things. I think the term " enemies, " may be used for many that oppose many of her viwes. Like many of these so called Intellectauls in the world today. Like I myself do not fully agree with her on everything. She did not belive that we ( THE USA ) should have been in WW2. I disagree with that. Am I now one of these,
" enemies " because of this? I would say not, because I do agree with like 98% of her thoughts.


Jamie
Sherry
SherryTX
Plano, TX
Post #: 13
I was over at Nathaniel Branden's site last week, and did some reading there. It was interesting. From what I have read there and other places online, it indeed sounded like a relationship that had gone bad. He seemed to want to keep his mouth shut while she was alive, and wrote a few things about his thoughts on Objectivism and her after she died. I think he felt that he would be benefiting her if he wrote these things while she was alive.
But I didn't find any of it written in a revengeful or in any kind of manner to attack her personally. I thought he made some interesting points.

I think it is always a good idea to take a look at points that may disagree with a philosophy one is studying. When you question the philosophy, it might lead you to gaining insight into it you would never had if you just accepted everything you read about it.
Thanks for bringing this up...I don't know Ken Wilber, but will be interesting in finding out about him as I have time.

One danger in studying philosophy is sometimes forgetting the person that may have started it is actually human. The more I read about Rand, the more I think she is a genius, and also a bit black and white. However, she was human, so there of course any philosophy she or another human comes up with cannot be perfect. I was a bit dismayed when I started to read how she would often eject people, seemed a bit mean at times, but I have to remind myself that you don't have to like someone to get benefit from their ideas.
A former member
Post #: 8
I had a reaction similar to Sherry's. More out of curiosity than anything, I began reading more about Branden. Psychology has always interested me, and I think his work is intriguing. But what was most interesting was his "personal statement" describing his thoughts on Rand and Objectivism.
http://www.nathanielb...­

I have not given Branden's points sufficient critical thought to accept or reject them, but I do think several things he says are quite valid. It has always seemed to me that Rand encouraged emotional suppression, rather than acknowledging emotion as a positive and integral component of our humanity. Also, I never quite understood or agreed with the militant rigidity of Rand's aesthetics, and Branden briefly touches on that point in this essay.

I'm quite curious to get everybody's thoughts on Branden. Are his observations and critiques consistent with the same rational egoism that Rand advocated, or do they run sufficently contrary to the tenets of Objectivism that his entire framework is not internally consistent?

Oh, and as for Rand kicking Branden out of her inner circle and renouncing his Objectivist status, the histories and biographical commentaries seem to imply that much of this little drama between the two related more to "jilted lover syndrome" than ideological differences.
A former member
Post #: 181
Sherry & Arron,


I'd like to thank you for the points that you have made. It appers that we are all seeing the samething in this matter. I have also read some of his work. I think he is a very smart man to say the least. He did help me learn some things that I never knew. I liked his Rand work, & also the after Rand work he has done as well. I have not read it all. Therefore I can not comment on it all, that would be stupid for me to do so. Yet I think anyone that picks up any of his work will learn a great deal. I also think it was a big ole' mess!!!!!!! As it was said " A LOVERS SPAT GONE TO FAR!" I also still belive for the most part, " HE IS ONE OF US!!!!!!" I also belive too many Objectivist kill there own. Yet I do not know why.

Jamie
A former member
Post #: 9
Yesterday I picked up a copy of Branden's "Six Pillars of Self Esteem" and read the first few chapters. Seems like it's a pretty comprehensive stab at what I would call "Objectivist Psychology". Good stuff.

-AS
A former member
Post #: 183
Arron,

I like you have read one of his books, the one I read was called,
" The Psychology of Self Esteem. " I think that was the name of it. It was a few years back from the time I have read it. That book is also still in my home in North Carolina. It also seemed to be an
" Objectivist Psychology " for lack of a better term. I myself still do not judge him to be an enemy of Ayn Rand.


Yet there are a few things about their " Love Life " I do not get at all.
They were both very smart people indeed. Yet with the set up they had, how could either one of them not see bad things coming down the road from it. I am just saying the " LOVE LIFE " that was going on was a ticking time bomb waiteing to go off. I just think it's sad that all of this happened. I think it hurt " The Movement, " as well as Ayn, Nathen, Frank, & Barabra. ( Did I spell Barrabra right? Thats a tuff name to spell. ) Nothing good ever seems to come of things like this. Could they have chose lust or love over logic?


Jamie
Santiago Valenzue...
sanjavalen
Dallas, TX
Post #: 17
I had a reaction similar to Sherry's. More out of curiosity than anything, I began reading more about Branden. Psychology has always interested me, and I think his work is intriguing. But what was most interesting was his "personal statement" describing his thoughts on Rand and Objectivism.
http://www.nathanielb...­

I have not given Branden's points sufficient critical thought to accept or reject them, but I do think several things he says are quite valid. It has always seemed to me that Rand encouraged emotional suppression, rather than acknowledging emotion as a positive and integral component of our humanity.

Woah, are we talking about the same philosophy here?

Objectivism cautions that emotion is properly the fuel and motivation of a human being, it is a wonderful capacity which I am quite happy to have (and enjoy immensely, every day.) Objectivism broke with almost every other philosophy, however, in that it denies that emotion has any cognitive value whatsoever - ie, emotion cannot replace logic as the direction-maker, it acts in its proper role as fuel and reward.

The analogy is nice. Emotion can get you there - your passion for your work, your hope for the future, your joy at the accomplishment of your goals - but it cannot set your course for you. That is the task of reason and logic. 'Suppression' has been one thing I have never gotten from Objectivism - quite the opposite, in fact. Rand wrote about intensely emotional and sensitive characters, and the philosophy itself does not say emotion is bad, merely that it must take its proper place as it should work within a human being. To call that 'emotional suppression' is absurd.

I'm quite curious to get everybody's thoughts on Branden. Are his observations and critiques consistent with the same rational egoism that Rand advocated, or do they run sufficently contrary to the tenets of Objectivism that his entire framework is not internally consistent?

Oh, and as for Rand kicking Branden out of her inner circle and renouncing his Objectivist status, the histories and biographical commentaries seem to imply that much of this little drama between the two related more to "jilted lover syndrome" than ideological differences.

Judge for yourself. I am not concerned with psychology - Branden's supposed forte - but be cautioned against blind acceptance, in that as in anything.

As for the story of the two, I am given to understand that Rand and Branden both cheated on their spouses (with each of the spouses' knowledge) with each other. Rand found out that Branden had also taken a young lady for an additional lover and kicked him out of the movement post-haste. The Brandens have written a lot of slanderous material about Rand and Objectivism, interestingly enough all written after Ayn Rand's death and thus leaving her in no place to refute it herself personally.

I personally dislike Branden and wouldn't take much of what he says seriously - he has proven, through his slanderous remarks (such as the idea he puts forth that Objectivism encourages the 'suppression' of emotions - poppycock! Anyone who thinks that such is a virtue does not understand the proper place of emotions) that he is not to be trusted.

Edit: To give the proper context to my evaluations, given the actions of both Branden and Rand, I respect neither as a person. It is, in my mind, the highest treason to the proper ideals of man to stay in a relationship while pursuing another one - especially so important a relationship as marriage! While I am eternally grateful to Rand for her ideas and her philosophy, which I follow - and which, in this instance, she did not - I cannot have a positive evaluation of her as an individual.
A former member
Post #: 196
Santiago,

" To give the proper context to my evaluations, given the actions of both Branden and Rand, I respect neither as a person. It is, in my mind, the highest treason to the proper ideals of man to stay in a relationship while pursuing another one - especially so important a relationship as marriage! While I am eternally grateful to Rand for her ideas and her philosophy, which I follow - and which, in this instance, she did not - I cannot have a positive evaluation of her as an individual. "


I do understand your point. What they did was not a good nor the right thing to do. Yet sometimes good people do however do bad things. I have done some bad things in my life as well. ( YET SOMETHING LIKE THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM ) So maybe you are being a tad bit harsh.

I do understand your point. Someone should always remain faithful, or atleast have the respect to end it before they start up with someone new. Yet I do also understand lust or love can be a very powerful thing. Yet I do not think it should over rule what is the right thing nor the logical thing to do. I still find it hard to belive that they all agreed to this deal myself. I still find that very odd.



Jamie
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