North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Time to ruffle some feathers...

Time to ruffle some feathers...

A former member
Post #: 8
I recently read Nathaniel Branden's article, "The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand: A Personal Statement."

I'm still chewing kicking what he said over in my mind. I'll admit that I've had some of the very questions and concerns that he raises.

I also realize that Branden is not loved by Objectivists anymore... Nevertheless, I still think there might be something worth looking at with this article.

It can be found here.
Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 57
Personally, I think a lot of the 'bad affects' he sees from Rand's teaching of objectivism is a bunch of people that didn't completely understand what they were dealing with. Of course I have no idea what any of their situations were and such, so what I say could be total rubbish. I don't see how anyone could read all her fiction novels and say, 'ok, I'm an Objectivist, I get it all!'. They are supposed to explore it and understand it before they begin to try and apply it. I'd be more than happy to discuss any of the points of his article you find yourself questioning things on.

- Travis
A former member
Post #: 82
I think the article best summarizes itself from this quote:

"Ayn Rand has an incredible vision to offer -- in many respects a radiantly rational one. I am convinced that there are errors in that vision and elements that need to be changed, eliminated, modified, or added and amplified, but I am also convinced that there is a great deal in her vision that will stand the test of time."

I bounced around from there and eventually wound up here:
http://en.wikipedia.o...­
http://en.wikipedia.o...­
A former member
Post #: 9
Personally, I think a lot of the 'bad affects' he sees from Rand's teaching of objectivism is a bunch of people that didn't completely understand what they were dealing with. Of course I have no idea what any of their situations were and such, so what I say could be total rubbish. I don't see how anyone could read all her fiction novels and say, 'ok, I'm an Objectivist, I get it all!'. They are supposed to explore it and understand it before they begin to try and apply it. I'd be more than happy to discuss any of the points of his article you find yourself questioning things on.

- Travis
Actually, I'd say that is pretty much dead on. I know I tried to apply Objectivism to my life while I was in the process of reading VOS and right after finishing The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged for the very first time.

I failed miserably.

I particularly had trouble reconciling the issues of a philosophy that claims to encourage "right" emotion but has protagonist that commonly suppress his or her emotions when they aren't correct.

I don't think Objectivism is wrong, I just haven't yet discovered a method for recognizing the difference between emotion as a tool and emotion as a crutch.

Like I said, I'm hear to learn. This would be just another example.
Sherry
SherryTX
Plano, TX
Post #: 105
CJ,
The emotion thing is something that I was concerned with as well. It is a valid concerned, but you will see that a solid study of Objectivism will address that concern.

What do you mean by "right emotion" though? I am not sure I understand what you mean.

I used to think, during my first few months of study that Objectivist were supposed to be stoic and put logic ahead of emotion. What I have come to understand is that Rand meant you need to understand your emotions, and that emotions are not a means of cognition. Emotions are a consequense of something, not a cause...chapter 5 I believe, (I think it is the Chapter on Reason...Travis left my book at work!) covers this.

BTW, having come to know people that have been applying Objectivism in their every day life for decades (through this group), I have to say that Objectivism is NOT about being stoic. I don't know if that is what you meant by the right emotion...but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that.
Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 60
I particularly had trouble reconciling the issues of a philosophy that claims to encourage "right" emotion but has protagonist that commonly suppress his or her emotions when they aren't correct.

My understanding (right now) of emotional responses is that they are never without reason. Even if we do not have time to fully comprehend the full context of what is happening when we get emotional, emotions are based on value-judgements we make. If a person has a firm foundation for making value-judgements, then emotions can not lead them astray. If they don't have a firm foundation, they can find their emotions bringing out value-judgements in contradiction to what they would reason out given enough time to think it through, so they become fearful of showing emotion.

As I said, this is my understanding of it right now, and it seems like everytime I review it in conjunction with another thought, it gets more and more defined as my understanding grows. I used to actually admire stoicism, repressing a lot and dismissing emotions as almost a product of a weak mind, but I don't anymore now that I'm starting to understand it.

- Travis
A former member
Post #: 10
I've been reading Great Political Thinkers and I just recently finished the portion on stoicism. I'll admit that there was something there I found appealing.

At the same time, the more I compare it with Objectivism, the less I find in common. In particular, I don't like the fatalism and the idea that violence shouldn't be confronted. Hmm...

I guess the two really aren't compatible.

My questions over Objectivism are from a position of ignorance, and not really one of disagreement. For example, I'm not sure I understand the concepts of Metaphysics and Epistimology at all, much less how Rand presents them.

That is why I'm currently studying philosophy on my own. I have no formal education in the field and I don't have access to people educated on the subject at this point in life.

This is really the first time I've found anyone else that is willing to seriously discuss Objectivism as a cohesive and comprehensive philosophy. I'm enjoying it very much.
Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 61
It is a shame there is some distance between yourself and the metroplex, I'd really encourage you to come to some of the discussion groups such as Dean's OPAR or to attend some of the NTOS meetings. Have you ever had a chance to look through a copy of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff? It is somewhat dry reading to dive into it directly, but he gives a concise guide through objectivism from beginning to end. My own style of learning is quite different from most others (I think someone once called it reduction instead of induction), so perhaps someone else might be able to point to a more appropriate starting point outside the fiction.

Any question you have though, please feel free to ask.

- Travis
A former member
Post #: 11
I haven't ready it but I'll pick it up as soon as I finish Great Political Thinkers (which will be a while).

I wish I could come to the meetups. I didn't notice any meetup groups for this area. I think you all are probably closest.

Maybe a time or two this summer if I can get off...

There is always the likelihood that I'll return to school in a year or so and then I'll definitely be getting together with Objectivists.
Sherry
SherryTX
Plano, TX
Post #: 107
If you register on the ARI site (which is free) you can listen to two free intro lectures on audio online there at this link:
Introduction to Objectivism

One is 75 minutes by Leonard Peikoff, and the other is 5 hours by Gary Hull. You can log on and off at your leisure to listen to them. (Just take note where you left off.) I have listened to a good part of the Gary Hull one. It is pretty good.
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