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North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Question about Objectivism

Question about Objectivism

Chris J.
Dallas, TX
Post #: 82
When I first Joined NTOS, I had only read Rand's fiction, but as I have become more interested in the formal philosophical study I have been reading her nonfiction books. I have read several, and OPAR is now on my shelf to be read in a week or so. I have just read The Virtue of Selfishness, and again agree with the concepts presented, but I now have a blank space in my knowledge of Objectivism. What I haven't found yet is an approach to dealing with other people (apart from exchange of value, which makes perfect sense). Is this implicit in the value exchange principle or is it in a book I have yet to read?

I don't want to get into a specific, hypothetical example, but it seems that sometimes there are conflicting circumstances, and ways to deal with them are valuable tools. It seems that even dealing with people who have Objectivist ideas doesn't always produce the desired results-as evidenced by those who no longer participate in NTOS based on disagreements. Even more complicated is dealing with people without any objective approach to their lives. Ideally I wouldn't have to deal with unreasonable people, but we all know that isn't possible. Can anyone give me an Objectivist perspective on dealing with the non-Objectivists that I must deal with regularly?
Scott C.
Dallas, TX
Post #: 51
I think it is important to put things in perspective. There are lots of mostly good people (honest, hard-working, and pleasant to be around) who aren't Objectivists.

I often have to avoid certain topics around such people, but there is no reason you can't have a good, if somewhat superficial, relationship with them.

Others are not so pleasant, and I do all I can to avoid contact with them if I can, and avoid meaningful conversation if I can't.

All in all, I find that if I try to seek out the positives in others I can find plenty of people I like to be around.
A former member
Post #: 153

I think Scott is correct. Just deal honestly with people and use discretion. You aren't out to "save their souls". As somone who manages a large number of people, you have to be able to relate to them on their terms. I'm not saving you have to agree with them, but be able to understand them. Trust me, I know plenty of unpleasent Objectivists and MANY pleasent non-Objectivists.

One thing I always try to keep in mind it that knowledge is hierarchical. Even Ayn Rand admitted her debt to Aristotle. Many Objectivists expect people to read Atlas and be transformed as if by magic. One of the things I like most about NTOS is the people...we're just...people.

This directly relates to other post about leadership. Being an Objectivist doesn't automatically make someone a great, or even good, leader. Just like having an MBA doesn't automatically make someone a good businessman. Each according to their ability.

TV is the great social glue of our

A former member
Post #: 59
And Rand pointed out in Fountainhead that "Love is the rulebreaker" so there are exceptions to even to Objectivism.
Dallas, TX
Post #: 21
I keep hoping that some Jehovah's witnesses will come to my door. Just so I can tell them, "We have been waiting for you." - jk

Even though, I do enjoy a battle of the wits, Objectivism is obviously more than a mind game. My attitude is that of a sales person, if and when possible I do attempt to sell Objectivism as a philosophy for living on earth, just as Ayn Rand described it to those who had never been exposed to her ideas. To have progress selling ideas requires thick skin, patience, and a benevolent attitude. Many people have never even thought to question the ideas they have accepted by osmosis. It would be irrational to expect someone to become atheist, capitalist, and integrate everything that we know from just one discussion. My suggestion would be, if you find someone who you think lives what we preach, is already inquisitive by nature, then offer them something of Rand's. Ask them questions, let them try to formulate an answer.
Plano, TX
Post #: 617
OH Donovan - if you could get a JW to sit and listen to you about Objectivism - if they were truly devout, their heads would explode.

When I was a JW and wanted to maintain a friendship with those who were not, I did just as Scott suggested, and avoided certain topics if they meant I would have to preach to them.

I work virtually with several others on my team that are great people - but some are very religious, and I just avoid any talk of religion. I am honest if asked, but don't bring it up. Now, I think as you get to know people you will be able to figure out when and if it is ever a good time to talk to them about what your philosophy is indepth.

My two best friends are not Objectivists. One I can talk more freely with about the philosophy than the other. Why do I bother with them? Because the are two of the most wonderful people in the world, but unfortunately will never be able to shake their religious beliefs. However, they accept I am an atheist and let it go because they know I am a worthwhile person.

I do have one disent from Scott's comments. I don't feel my relationship with either of these women is in any way superficial. But that has been my experience. I enjoy the company of pretty much everyone at NTOS, but my relationship with many is more superficial than with others. Why? Because I think you have to have MORE than just Objectivisim in common to have a really tight bond. But, boy, is THAT a good start! The bond I have with these two friends started out because we are in the same profession and grew from there. My husband has relationships with people at work that I wouldn't regard as superficial in any way, and they are not Objectivists either.

How to deal with people - basically give everyone you meet a certain about of respect, and then go up or down from there as you get to know them. Sorry I haven't had a chance too look it up, but Rand does address this - I just cannot remember which essay. I will look later this week if I have time.
Dallas, TX
Post #: 23
Virtue of Selfishness: How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society? (1962)
Norman, OK
Post #: 38
A Jehovah's witness did come to my door recently and we stood in the doorway and talked.....for almost an hour. He asked me if I read the Bible. I politely said no and thought that would be the end of it. He was then foolish enough to ask me, why not? After the hour long discussion, we exchanged information and agreed to meet later. At our next meeting we exchanged literature and agreed to meet again to discuss. He seems genuinely interested. He said he's searching for truth. I agreed to read his information on the bible and he agreed to read the first 32 pages of the copy of OPAR I loaned him. (The first 32 pages are the metaphysics and ends with explaining why Objectivists are atheists.) I am not only reading the info he gave me but am making notes so I can relate to him when we meet again. I'm aware there is only a slim chance of getting through to him. The experience has already been productive for me as I am learning more about why religionists believe what they do. I am interested to learn what psychological incentives one has to believe in the fantasy of mysticism in the first place. I was an atheist for about five years before I ever heard of Rand. I'm still confused as to why most people don't end up as atheists on their own. I believe if the psychology of their choices and evasions could be better understood then it would be possible to develop more targeted introductory material to interest them in rational philosophy.

But mostly I'm just relieved that so far his head hasn't exploded. :)

JoAnne D.
user 5072024
Dallas, TX
Post #: 7
Wow, a JW who can be converted through reverse door to door ministry. Frightening for them, exhilarating for us. MUwahahahahahaaaa!!! Chad, can you talk to my Mom?laughing

Seriously, it is so incredibly difficult to reverse the damage done by successfull brainwashing. I think the most harmful aspect of Christianity is the terrible flaw of self righteousness that is difficult to stem.

IE: We are rational beings, but as soon as we are grounded into utterly believing we have found THE answer, we fall into irrational thinking. Science, my friends, including the science of thought, is ever evolving and there may be more to what we think we know. We cannot ever close ourselves off from knowledge. We must listen to both sides of an argument so that we can perceive any truth that may come from it. As soon as we stop listening and say its bukkshit (hehe, that was a typo but I like the way it sounds. Try it, say it out loud, its satisfying biggrin ), just by instinct or the miscalculation of what we know...intellectual fodder...

Anyway, its hard to listen to friends say"you should pray about it", as I still feel physically violent toward being forced to "God", but if you can respect a person for who they are, then it doesnt matter. Objectivism is to them our religion. It is not so very different after all..devilish ( I feel the kettle of water frothing at my feet. This should get fun! Defend thyselves!) JoAnne
Karen G.
Sulphur, OK
Post #: 12
I'm still confused as to why most people don't end up as atheists on their own.

For me, I did not know that questioning the existence of God was an option - or at least a rational one. I know that sounds so inane, but when I was presented with irrefutable arguments and a rational thought process to relate to, it was an inevitable conclusion. It took me a while to come to grips with it, and a while to mourn (for the loss of dreams, the loss of the known and then the years wasted). Realizing a lifetime of study was misdirected was depressing. I had so integrated my 'faith', that without it I was a nonentity. A solitary electron. I had to discover that my mind was my proton, and until I clung to it and nurtured it I was vulnerable. Then it took some time to realize that I had no skills in the art of thinking. I had always thought that I thought. I still struggle with this. There is so much you give up when you lose your belief in God it is easier to not go there. The benefits of living in a rational thinking world are not readily seen from a faith-based perspective.

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