|WARNING: Heresy here...|
This article had me thinking about something that I've needed to say for quite awhile, regarding the dark side of Ayn Rand's emphasis on achievement, and why ARI acts the way it does nowadays.
The enormous "up" side of Rand's works, is that they attempt true objectivity like nothing else I've ever read. No matter their faults, I always strive to keep that in mind, that the whole point of Objectivism is objectivity, an essential dimension in life... I don't always agree with all the conclusions that Rand arrived at, under that label of "objectivity", but I do have enormous respect for the process of totally honest examination and decision-making known as objectivity.
With those positive things said, now I want to discuss the negatives.
As much as I've said I do admire Rand, I also have detected a definitely pervasive air of cruelty, even sadism, in her books. It always makes me wonder to what extent her characters are driven by a need to achieve something noble, or just some sadistic urge to dominate...
I see it in the ways that her characters work, play, and even have sex. There always seems to be this undertone, in a great many places.
Now, maybe I'm "imagining" all this, or maybe I'm not, and I'm just mis-interpreting it this undertone or overtone or whatever (by the way, what is the difference between an "overtone" and an "undertone"?)... but I do firmly know that there is some spirit of that sort, all over the place in her books.
All this makes me wonder: Does a preoccupation with uncompromised, outstanding achievement all the time, at all costs, with no regrets, lead to one crossing over into a sadistic personality? At what point, if ever, does one cross that line?
With all this said, I think that this spirit of which I speak, might be the one dimension, out of the several key emphases in Rand's works, that really drew together and consolidated a certain group of people who would later become ARI.
What I mean by this is the following: If there are really, let's say, three principal emphases in Rand's work (not that there aren't necessarily more) - 1) objective, metaphysical love of philosophy, 2) making money without interference from the government, and 3) the sadistic preoccupation of which I speak - then it makes logical sense to me that a separate social camp would have arisen out of each of those dimensions.
And that's what I believe has happened. As I look at things, SOLO represents what I mentioned above as the first emphasis... This group seems more interested in the love of philosophy and objectivity than in making money, or in being hard and nasty.
Emphasis number two of Rand's works seems to have been what has attracted and brought together the members of what would later become TOC, and emphasis number three seems to have led to ARI. All three groups try to be well-rounded with regard to covering all of Rand's emphases, but of course, each can only focus on one at a time. If each of the three groups could each do justice to all of Rand's emphases, then there would be no need for three groups, now would there? Three would not exist today. (Think about it)
ARI may be hopping mad over this sort of comment, if indeed they ever read it, but I don't think many people outside the group would disagree with it.
Rand, as a person, had many dimensions, as do we all... good and bad. But I think that once she started to attract followers, a sort of direct power over people was put in her hands... and nothing brings out the dark side of any person, as much as power. It has always been noted that there arose within her group, exactly this sort of premium on sado-masochistic abuse and obedience, which drove away those who did not enjoy it, and actually consolidated into total, diamond-like cohesion, those who stayed behind... those who actually hungered for it.
I submit that ARI now consists of the latter of these two groups... if not the exact same people as were originally in Rand's fold (which I do not know), then the same personality types as the originals, who remained behind.
Comments? *hiding for protection*
(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 5/31, 12:41pm)
(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 6/04, 9:22am)