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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 1:25amSanction this postReply
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Nice one Joe!  I am feeling pumped and ready to walk proud into the sunlit morning. This is the spirit of solo...

                   Come my friends,
                    'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
                   Push off, and sitting well in order,smite
                   The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
                   To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
                   Of all the western stars, until I die.
                   It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
                   It may be that we will touch the Happy Isles,
                   And see the great Achilles,whom we knew.
                   Though much is taken,much abides; and
                      though
                   We are not now that strength which in old
                        days
                   Moved earth and heaven; that which we are,
                       we are:----
                   One equal temper of heroic hearts,
                    Made weak by time and fate,but strong in
                          will
                    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
 
                     Ulysses                    Alfred Lord Tennyson




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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 4:03amSanction this postReply
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Three cheers for Joe! That's the spirit one hopes to find at SOLO ... and hopes will attract others in our direction.



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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 4:36amSanction this postReply
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Very well done Joe! Excellent article!

George




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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 6:04amSanction this postReply
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Excellent article, Joe. Thank you.



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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 6:41amSanction this postReply
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Thanks for the tribute, Joe.

Now people will understand that when Linz calls me "Her Royal Whoreness," it refers (ahem) to my penchant for being an ideological "capitalist," "salesman," and "proprietor," with a dialectical sensibility. 

But I had a good teacher:  Ayn Rand herself ... whom Peikoff was right to call "the greatest salesman philosophy has ever had." 

The key, for me, has always been:  Know what market you're targeting, learn about the specific concerns of that market (especially about your competitors in that market), and package your message in a way that bridges the gaps between your own perspective and the perspective of the people you are trying to reach.... not by compromising your message, but by learning to translate that message for a specific audience's context.  In other words, this is all about context-keeping as applied to the exposition and sale of one's ideas.

I discuss the reasons for this in my Free Radical article, "Dialectics & the Art of Nonfiction," which draws from Rand's own insights.  She said that "the purpose for which you write depends on your audience," and it is for this reason that we must never be "neutral about [the] audience's context."  That would make about as much sense as a car dealer (using Joe's example) trying to sell a toaster to a customer looking for an SUV.  Know your audience... know your customer... and adapt your message accordingly to appeal to that customer's interests and concerns... in other words, to his or her context.




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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 10:27amSanction this postReply
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What a wonderful article, Joe.

You are selling salesmanship!

That is really needed around here too...

Michael




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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 10:36amSanction this postReply
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Thanks for this Joe, it's marvellous stuff and in all honesty there are several points here I ought to take on board in my own discussions with non-O'ist acquaintances.

MH




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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 11:35amSanction this postReply
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This is one of the best articles I have read at Solo, which means it is one of the best articles I have read anywhere. I am struggling through a multi-part article on the evolution of freedom in America. The insights here are extremely helpful in its organization and presentation. I also am impressed with the author's concept of Chris Sciabarra's contribution to the selling of Objectivism and will be chewing over these thoughts for some time to come, I am sure.




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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 2:39pmSanction this postReply
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Joe, this was beautifully done.  Bravo to you for using the analogy of capitalism as a tool, as I wholeheartedly agree.  I think Chris summed it up well, and it is exactly what I am doing with my own mission:

The key, for me, has always been:  Know what market you're targeting, learn about the specific concerns of that market (especially about your competitors in that market), and package your message in a way that bridges the gaps between your own perspective and the perspective of the people you are trying to reach.... not by compromising your message, but by learning to translate that message for a specific audience's context.  In other words, this is all about context-keeping as applied to the exposition and sale of one's ideas.




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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 3:53pmSanction this postReply
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The Carl Franklin points you posted were very useful, but #1 and #2 are identical - "relative advantage".

Can you post his #2? Also, it would be easier to follow #3, "compatibility" if you could give a couple examples which would apply to Objectivism.

The "bridging" principle is really powerful...

Thank you for this, and thanks to Chris for his elaboration.

Phil
(Edited by Philip Coates
on 4/09, 3:57pm)




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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 5:08pmSanction this postReply
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One thing to remember in the analysis of the appeal of religion vs objectivism, is that religion did in fact take several hundred years to completely usurp the old pagan religions in Europe. And as we still see today it did not completely succeed as paganism and Christianity have become inseparably intermingled. Just look at the pagan symbolism that still abounds at the two largest Christian celebrations Christmas and Easter -  and there are many more examples too numerous to mention here.

Another point is that Christianity has always been a political tool. From it beginnings of Jesus (assuming he existed) trying to take "political" as well as "religious" power in Jerusalem - to his followers trying to destabilize the Roman Empire. To it's adoption by the Emperor Constantine as a tool to try to unite the crumbling empire. It was a calculated political move to make it into the state religion and then decree that Jesus was the son of God in order to Bolster the Emperor's (Pope's) authority. The deceased Popes huge popularity was due to his travelling around the world like any other political diplomat.

So why do people continue to believe? Well, most people only follow Christian dogma when it suits them.
If it's easy, they do it out of tradition. The true believers are either the ones that truly want to make sense of it (and never will) or those that don't want to think for themselves. Are Church numbers up in the western world? No, they are falling.
Where are they rising? In Africa and South American countries where people are poor, uneducated and still guided mainly by superstition.

What lesson does that give us for spreading objectivism? Only that those that try to use objectivism for political leverage are most likely to convert (or subjugate) ignorant masses on a large scale. Something that is inimical to objectivism.

What is the magic bullet for the spreading of Objectivism? I don't think there is one, different packaging and different aspects of it will appeal to different types of individuals.

Let's not sell "spirituality" to the masses like religion does as a ruse to gain political power, but give individuals something of practical benefit in their daily lives.




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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 9:36pmSanction this postReply
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Marcus, excellent post. 



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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 9:45pmSanction this postReply
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Joe,

 

The philosophy’s here.  The next and much-needed task is indeed marketing and salesmanship.  Thanks for providing some tools – and inspiration – to make it happen. 

 

Jason




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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 9:48pmSanction this postReply
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To be precise: By saying "The philosophy's here" I don't mean to denigrate or minimalize those working on new applications, extensions, etc. or Objectivism.  That work is important too.  But the core ideas are indeed already there.

Jason




Post 14

Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 9:51pmSanction this postReply
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Thank you everyone for your comments, glad you liked it!

David, thanks for posting that poem. "To sail beyond the sunset..." spoken like a true spaceplayer.

Philip, rule 2 was inserted twice, thanks for pointing that out, it's fixed now.

Marcus, you made some interesting points. This one stood out for me:

"One thing to remember in the analysis of the appeal of religion vs objectivism, is that religion did in fact take several hundred years to completely usurp the old pagan religions in Europe. And as we still see today it did not completely succeed as paganism and Christianity have become inseparably intermingled. Just look at the pagan symbolism that still abounds at the two largest Christian celebrations Christmas and Easter - and there are many more examples too numerous to mention here."

Like you said, the Church did not completely succeed. Is there a concern that Objectivism may not succeed if it becomes inseparably intermingled with religion? I think this is an interesting concern. On the one hand, there is the story about Rand turning down a monetary offer if she would only add a religious element to her work, which she rightfully declined. Yet she usurped religious imagary into her own work in a positive manner, such as her use of the word Anthem, and the passage in the Fountainhead where Toohey described Roark as being religious in his own way. These examples are a good example of selling Objectivist ideas as an alternative to conventional morality without compromising the principles or pandering to so called ignorant masses.

Chris, you're most welcome. And thank you. Russian Radical meant a lot to me. It's been almost 10 years since I first read it, and I still find new insights when I read it today. I consider it a multi layered epic. All it needs is a soundtrack by Rosza.



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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 10:21pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Jason.
You write: "To be precise: By saying "The philosophy's here" I don't mean to denigrate or minimalize those working on new applications, extensions, etc. or Objectivism. That work is important too. But the core ideas are indeed already there."

Good point. And I hope that by spreading what is there, and attracting others to an Objectivist viewpoint, that we can bring in some new applications and extensions from those with an outside vantage point. What better way to encourage others to adapt our views than to encourage them to bring the best from their views? Objectivism would grow mighty, indeed.




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Saturday, April 9, 2005 - 10:38pmSanction this postReply
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Another comment from Marcus that deserves attention: "One thing to remember in the analysis of the appeal of religion vs objectivism, is that religion did in fact take several hundred years to completely usurp the old pagan religions in Europe."

One of the advantages that Objectivism has over religion is the technology of today. With the internet, ideas can spread rapidly, and it will be such technology that will offer us the opportunity to achieve faster success than religion. In order to compete, religions will have to adapt and concede to technology and capitalism, which, of course, are our speciality.



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Post 17

Sunday, April 10, 2005 - 9:39amSanction this postReply
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Like you said, the Church did not completely succeed. Is there a concern that Objectivism may not succeed if it becomes inseparably intermingled with religion?
Joe, I don't think the conflict is between objectivism and religion directly, but between objectivism and collectivism.

Now, if objectivism becomes intermingled with enforced collectivism, it really will have become as ideologically corrupt as religion has!




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Sunday, April 10, 2005 - 1:10pmSanction this postReply
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This is a fine article, Joe. Objectivists must do much more than simply announce a system of philosophical abstractions to the world. They must realize that they're in a competitive intellectual marketplace--and that principles of marketing apply. They must also realize the objective spiritual needs of their audiences--and offer not just words, but a nourishing spiritual vision that will serve as a viable lifestyle alternative to what already exists.

As a first step toward grasping what needs to be done, I am going to exhort readers to go out and buy the books of marketing gurus Jack Trout and Al Ries. These include: Marketing Warfare, Positioning and Focus. Reading those three books (and they are "quick reads") will open your eyes to a whole new world. They are vital to those among you who wish to have your ideas be noticed and become culturally influential.

Once you've read (and re-read) those titles, I suggest you then read the following:

The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Starke -- on how people really adopt new philosophical frames of reference, and the unrecognized importance of creating social institutions to support the "conversions" of individuals to your point of view

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell -- on the mechanics of how cultural change actually occurs

And finally, my most seemingly off-topic, but completely relevant offering: The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler.

This last is a book on fiction writing by a leading Hollywood "script doctor," who structures his editing efforts on the "mythic archetypes" drawn from the book Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. What in hell has this to do with cultural change?--you rightly ask. Everything, I reply. Because to the extent to which we effectively frame our messages to reflect the timeless heroic mythology described in these books, we'll add the compelling and universally attractive spiritual dimension to our persuasive efforts--a dimension absent in our too-often arid and abstract philosophical preaching. That is exactly what Ayn Rand did, as you'll see when you read the book. And that is also the reason why no Objectivist since has had her power and influence.

Those of you who read these books with the goal of answering the question, How can this material apply to the spread of Objectivism?, will be enriched in more ways than you can possibly imagine.

Thanks, Joe, for opening a door that I hope won't close anytime soon.


 




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Sunday, April 10, 2005 - 3:18pmSanction this postReply
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If the appeal of religion is that it provides spirituality, then we need to ask how and why, and not to have some foggy, semi-mystical idea of "spirituality" provided as an answer by religion.


(Edited by Marcus Bachler on 4/10, 3:49pm)




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