The Ayn Rand discussion thread.

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by waheennay, Aug 28, 2002.

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  1. waheennay Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2000
    star 4
    I decided to start a thread to discuss the author of the books THE FOUNTAINHEAD and ATLAS SHRUGGED and the originator of the Objectavist philosophy.
  2. McNerf-Burger Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 13, 2000
    star 5
    I had to read Foutainhead 2 years ago over the summer for my sophmore honors English summer assignment. I liked it alot! Really great book. Ive been meaning to read Atlast Shrugged and Anthem, but I probably wont get to them for some time. As for hher philosophy, I dont like it. But she's a great writer.
  3. Devilanse Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2002
    star 5
    I have read "Anthem" Incredible book! I have yet to read "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged". Could you tell me a little about them? I'm very interested.
  4. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    I've yet to read Atlas Shrugged, but I thought that The Fountainhead is a really interesting book. It's not really the kind of thing you'd want to read at the beach or anything. It's a thinker. It's about an architect whose work isn't appreciated by the general public, and through the telling of his story, Rand reveals more and more of her philosophy of Objectivism. It's really excellent. While I don't agree with all of her ideas, it definitely gives you some things to think about.
  5. stevo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2001
    star 4
    I'm reading "The Fountainhead" and I've read "Atlas Shrugged" dozens of times.



    How do all of you feel about her view on charity and mercy . . .and sacrifice?


    I found what she said to be utterly fascinating-- there was many a time when I'd read a paragraph and think about it for 2 hours. I can't agree with everything she says, but that's fine. She wouldn't have ever wanted for a person to slave themselves to her reason.




    and for all of you that haven't read Atlas Shrugged READ ATLAS SHRUGGED
  6. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    From what I understand, Objectivism is basically about being selfish, and goes completely against my belief of how people should be.
  7. stevo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2001
    star 4
    Quite to the contrary, if you think of it.


    I'm not gonna get too deep in this because I have to be somewhere in five minutes, but I think in simple terms its like this: Ayn Rand defines being selfish differently than we see it. I really don't think you can critisize her if you've read any of her books.
  8. Ghent99 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2001
    star 1
    I think Fountainhead is one of the best books I have ever read. I don't totally agree with everything in it but it was a very good read and something that makes you think. I find that anything that makes you think is good especially when so many things lately seem so worthless. I am a quarter way through Atlas Shrugged right now and I am addicted to reading it although its a hard book to read because you always want to stop and think about it.

    Anyways, who is John Galt?
  9. Obi-Dawn Kenobi Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 4
    I read both Anthem and The Fountainhead when I was in high school. Anthem is a wonderfully thought-provoking book and I would reccommend it for anyone intested in reading her work for the first time.

    The Ayn Rand Institute explains the essentials of Objectivism here.
  10. stevo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2001
    star 4
    John Galt is a liberator!


    EDIT: BTW, did anyone read "We The Living"?
  11. waheennay Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2000
    star 4
    I actually think there's a guy who is really named John Galt who works for Panavision who's developing the digital cameras for Lucas which is pretty funny. George Lucas reminds me a lot of Hank Rearden from ATLAS SHRUGGED. He takes a lot of crap from people for being too successful.
  12. naw ibo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    star 5
    I read Anthem a few years ago and thought it was incredibly thought provoking. I've meant to read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged for years but keep putting it off because of their length and because I know I'll want to do a lot of thinking while I'm reading them. :)

    Actually on a side note, I believe Neil Peart from the band Rush must be a fan of hers, I think the name of the their song publishing company is Anthem. A real Rush fan would have to confirm that though.
  13. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    Rush are HUGE Ayn Rand fans. The album 2112 is basically a tribute to her.
  14. stevo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2001
    star 4
    Oh really, what kind of music does RUSH play?



    But anyways. . . no body really has talked about how they feel about her books, excpet for how they have read them and that they were thought provoking. Right now I'm in a dielemma on social obligation and payment-effort. Do we have social obligations?
  15. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    Summary on Anthem Entertainment/Anthem Records

    The lyrics of "2112" are entirely based on Anthem. Other works by Rand, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot and other authors have heavily influenced Rush lyrics. Lyricist Neil Peart is often referred to by bandmates as "The Professor" because he's always been a bookworm... despite being a high school dropout.

    Apparently Queensryche is now signed with Anthem Records... also managed by Ray Danniels and SRO Management.

  16. waheennay Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2000
    star 4
    I think there's no such thing as a truly selfless good deed. If someone does something nice for you, even if they don't want payment they can still demand a favor from you later on.
  17. irishjedi49 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2002
    star 3
    Interesting thread topic. I haven't read the Fountainhead in years, but definitely had strong reactions to it at the time, so if that's what you're looking for stevo and waheenay ... :D

    Obi-Dawn, thanks for posting that link.

    Knight-writer - succinctly put, and I agree. Ayn Rand rejects the notion that people should live for anything or anyone but themselves, and says nothing exists outside of ourselves that cannot be known by pure reason. As her own site says, Objectivism rejects faith, mysticism and even altruism. Personal happiness is the highest moral value.

    Not only do I disagree with these notions, but I think they can *objectively* be shown to be flawed, or at least to have seriously undesirable consequences for people and society. If people have no social obligations, what binds us to each other? (We revert to Rousseau's natural man.) If people act only in their own interests, what consequences does that have for social relations? Making personal happiness the highest virtue has profound consequences on the institutions that hold society together -- like the family. (I don't mean to offend anyone, but clearly this philosophy of following your own desires without regard to others generally pervades Western society today, with the result of high divorce rates, high illegitimacy rates, and take your pick of other social ills which often *harm* individuals, especially children.) Rand's philosophy is chillingly void of any awareness that man cannot survive alone. Man is not God.

    Yes, I am a Christian, which is the antithesis of Rand's atheism, but I truly believe the tenets of Christianity when sincerely followed are good because they see divine worth in every human being. And if you want examples of truly unselfish acts, well, while they are rare (because of human flaws), they are there to be found, in Christianity and other major religions. Look at Mother Teresa. She gave with no expectation of receiving anything in return, and did wonderful good.

    Not that anyone has suggested this or anything, but I always had the feeling that Rand's book was presented in (my) classes in large part because it was a more or less coherent philosophy designed by (gasp) a woman, and there are, much to the dismay of some, decidedly too few women philosphers with (arguably) influential views. One other, who I haven't studied enough to fully understand and so make a call on one way or the other, is Elizabeth Anscombe. But in any case, I always felt that the merits of a given philosophy were worth more attention and concern than the gender of the philosopher.

    But being thought-provoking, as Rand's books tend to be (for people on this thread, too :) ) is a good thing, for whether you agree or disagree you come to a better understanding of your own beliefs.

    Thus ends my little essay :)
  18. irishjedi49 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2002
    star 3
    Yikes, did I kill the thread? ?[face_plain]
  19. stevo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2001
    star 4
    Eh, I was just waiting for someone else to post before I posted . . . but I see no one else(besides you) has.


    I believe that the best way we can help ourselves and our community is by: acting in our best interest. Think about it-- it is in my best interest to preserve the enviroment, it is in my best interest to help others, ect.
  20. cydonia Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 5
    I've read the Fountainhead, but not Atlas Shrugged. Recently i was on an Ayn Rand binge, read Philosophy: Who Needs It?, The Virtue of Selfishness, and the Romantic Manifesto.

    I agree 90% with her philosophy, as it pertains to captialism, freedom, and freedom from religion. Sometimes you read an author who says in a very lucid way the things you think yourself but haven't been able to form into words, this is what Ayn Rand has done for me.

    I will say i am much more open-minded when it comes to art than she seemed to be.

    If you agree with her ideas, a great writer to read is Nathaniel Branden, original guru of the self-esteem movement. As a young man he was involved with her and her organization, and his body of work is very much in the same vein, but he brings it down to a more practical level, i feel.

    The word selfish has a very negative connotation. All i can say is what Rand means by selfishness and what people think she means are two different things. Selfishness is not about being careless towards others, it's about holding your own happiness as the highest and noble ideal. It's about refusing to allow the demands of others to encroach on your birthright to persue life liberty and happiness. Altruism in its extreme form maintains the happiness of others is the highest ideal, self sacrafice and self repudiation being the way this is achieved. This is the basic pattern of socialism and totalitarianism, according to Rand, and i agree with her.
  21. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Really the only ideals of objectivism that I agree with are those which Rand attributed to government.
  22. cydonia Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 5
    I agree with her opinions on government as well, though that same philosophy tends to be the basis of her ideas on relgion and self-esteem as well.

    On that note, many feminists tend to fall on the side of democratic/socialistic ideas. I wonder what they think of the fact that probably the most influential thinker of the libertarian (capitalist) movement happens to be a woman?
  23. cydonia Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 5
    Anyone seen this movie?

    [image=http://www.sho.com/shoshop2002/image-bin/passion_vhs_big.jpg]
  24. irishjedi49 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2002
    star 3
    cydonia - as to what this woman, at least, thinks about the fact that Rand happened to be a woman, see my above post. I actually am a conservative, and so generally believe in capitalism, but I believe this is distinct from libertarianism. Libertarianism is the combination of conservative economic views and liberal social mores, while traditional conservativism embraces conservative economics as well as social views. Rand may be one of the more influential libertarian thinkers, but as for capitalist women, I think Margaret Thatcher, who lent her name to her own economic policies, arguably had a much broader impact. And her social philosophy was more viable, as well (again, see my above post for what I believe are the objectively negative consequences of Rand's philosophy). I understand there is disagreement on the point, but it's a valid one.

    I believe that the best way we can help ourselves and our community is by: acting in our best interest. Think about it-- it is in my best interest to preserve the enviroment, it is in my best interest to help others, ect.

    stevo - I think you make a good point, but there is a distinction to be made here. Doing what is in your own best interest is not precisely the same thing as doing what makes you happy. I would argue that sometimes, doing what is in your best interest is not what will make you the happiest. In fact, what makes you the happiest can have very negative consequences. I might be happiest if I left my marriage for someone else, but I have made a commitment to my spouse and leaving him might have depressing consequences for him, for my children, and even for society at large if my choice is paralleled by thousands of others, weakening the cohesion of society, of which the family unit is historically the foundation. If I value the benefits I receive from living in a stable society, then it might be in my best interest to stay in the marriage even though that requires some sacrifice on my part. (I'm using the philosophical "I" here -- I'm not married.)

    The pursuit of happiness is a not a constitutionally protected right (in the Declaration, but not the Constitution), but it is undoubtedly important to our society. However, society by its definition involves the interaction of individuals with each other, and choices are not made in a vacuum. The selfish pursuit of personal happiness, heedless of the effect on others, then, is not the highest ideal. Sometimes sacrifice and self-denial are required - these are higher ideals. (This is certainly not a determining feature of totalitarianism.) And this is not merely a religious perspective, though most of the world's major faiths value sacrifice, self-denial, and temperance to some degree. The ancient empires - Greece, Rome, Japan, etc. - also placed value in temperance and moderation, and were all successful for not insignificant periods in history. The decline of Rome, it has been argued, was owed in part to the decline of that society's collective morals, when death became a sport and moral prescriptions ceased to influence citizens. It has been argued that much the same degeneration is happening in Western society today - in no small part because of the philosophy expounded by, among others, Ayn Rand.
  25. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
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