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Post 200

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 10:52amSanction this postReply
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MSK: THEY ARE JUST NOT INTERESTED IN SEEING ANYTHING DIFFERENT THAN WHAT THEY BELIEVE.
 
Uh-huh. And it just sticks out more, and more, and more. It pushes my benevolence (which is more than theirs in the first place, because I have managed to move further down the line than Objectivism allows). It pushes it because of the smugness, which makes me want to make fun of them, and I find myself fighting to not do so. They are resplendent in their unwillingness to evolve. The irony is killer. They resemble the downside of the most blindered fundamentalist. Inpenetrable, pretty much. Stuck in self-designed cages. I don't care about holding back anymore. The ripping on Nathaniel Branden is fucking ridiculous. The man writes paragraphs, maybe even single sentences that are more meaningful than anything I've ever seen out of any of these vigilantes.

It's idolatry, plain and simple. Hero worship is awesome, when you start out. You find a hero to model after. But, you're supposed to become yourself after that. Instead, here, it's more like forensic exhumation.

Casey, show me one fucking original piece of essay writing on some subject other than this. Please, whip it out. I want to see what you're all about. It's not easy.

rde
Fuck 'em.

P.S. Ellen is the real deal, there is no question about it. And, she also has her own thoughts. She writes wonderful things on other forums and half of it most of the nimrods I see here picking over cadaver bones wouldn't likely even understand.






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Post 201

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 11:30amSanction this postReply
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Andrew Bissell wrote:

"It would be easier to tell which posters did and did not know Patrecia, if they would deign to use their real names instead of pseudonyms."

I'll assume that Andrew is referring to me.

(1) I specifically stated, in post 149, that I never myself met Patrecia. Adding a bit to that: Nathaniel and Patrecia (and Barbara I think as well) left New York City shortly after I arrived there. My impressions of Patrecia are second-hand from people who did know her. Those people include my husband (then "significant other") and a number of others (some of whom didn't like Nathaniel at all), all of whom liked Patrecia very much and gave reports which agreed as to what she was like.

(2) About the blasted pseudonym (subtitle: "Sometimes a Great Notion"): I already explained about that in a thread (the title of which I forget) on which I exchanged some remarks with MSK about Einstein; but since there are many threads on this list and many of you might not have seen the explanation, I'll repeat it, with some additional details. When I signed up as a member on this list, I had no intention of posting here. My only reason for signing up was curiosity to look at a few of the extended profiles and the discovery that those profiles can only be viewed by members. I used a pseudonym because I wasn't eager to have my name possibly being noticed in the membership list by various people who might have attempted to nudge me into posting on the threads pertaining to the Valliant book. You might have noticed that I haven't posted on any others of those threads. However, I broke down on this thread probably most of all because of a post by Jonathan. Jonathan is someone I've known for years (in list land; I haven't actually met him) and of whom I'm fond, and I thought he'd likely be interested in my slant about the thread's subject. I was aware of course that only those who know me would have any reason to attach any credence to my opinions.

(3) I have signed every one of my posts with my real name, so I don't suppose it's too difficult to figure out what my real name is. ;-)

(4) If the powers that be (for instance, Dean?) can simply change my name-listing in the membership list to my real name, they'd be welcome to do so. Although possibly the whole issue will be moot after December 1 in any case (it isn't clear whether the entire present membership will be accepted as membership on whatever forum is slated to replace this one).

Ellen Stuttle

[edited to correct a misspelling]
(Edited by Lysandra
on 11/29, 11:40am)




Post 202

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 11:53amSanction this postReply
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Rich,

It is getting ridiculous. Someone with time should start threads or book discussions on The Psychology of Romantic Love or The Six Pillars of Self Esteem. We might actually benefit from  discussions like that :-)!

Jim




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Post 203

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 12:00pmSanction this postReply
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Merlin wrote: 
I have not heard one word from readers of PARC about Rand's journal having any entries that question, or express any regret about, her own role in the tragic affair. (On second thought, I don't expect they would be in PARC if they did exist.) It seems that when anything went wrong, Rand always blamed it entirely on somebody else, herself none. A very common trait, I must say.
This is the greatest irony of the idolaters; in their zeal to present their hero as blameless and morally impeccable, they accept a cartoon that isn't even human.  Perhaps Ayn Rand accepted this image of herself as well.  For a crowd so fond of denouncing others' victim mentality, they sure like to see their hero victimized. 

This gets to the heart of the utter absurdity of writing a book refuting a person's bad rep by quoting that person's own journals.  (As if personal journals were the Rosetta Stone of objective awareness.  Well, they'll say, Ayn Rand's journals are!) 

Quoting Rand's journals is the ultimate argument from authority. 

Since when are a person's own journals evidence to refute the testimony of eye-witnesses?  Even Johnny Cochran wouldn't pull a stunt like that!  It should be obvious even to her idolaters that Ayn Rand misjudged the character of at least two of her closest intimates; it seems plausible if not psychologically necessary, therefore, that she misjudged herself as well.  Objectivism is kookie if it must rise or fall on the personal infallibility of its founder.  Thankfully, the simple existence of this board, to say nothing of Objectivism itself, is proof that it does not.

-Kevin




Post 204

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 12:31pmSanction this postReply
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Psychologically, it is an odd thing when you look at it macro. Why would anyone spend so much time, feel so much moral conviction to discredit (or, "rightfully restore" AR, as would be said) another person. Would a sane person even waste that much time discrediting a common huckster or criminal twenty or thirty years later? What is the purpose? A real, meaningful purpose that has impact on how the world is now.  The world is not about any of this ancient melodrama.

Why?

I can only think that AR, the object of their affection, their main giver of life purpose, has to have a history that is pristine, at all costs. The sentiment, the motivation is not unlike that of celebrity stalkers. Without this, I think things would unravel for them. Without her, things would unravel for them. Ironic.




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Post 205

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 12:36pmSanction this postReply
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Merlin, Kevin and Rich,

You haven't read PARC but you're willing to believe everything the admitted and proven liars, the Brandens, have to say about Rand and have the nerve to call me an idolator, etc.? Takes the cake, that.

Rand wrote extensively and heartbreakingly about the grievous mistake she made about Branden -- she laments that she never should have had an affair, etc. It is because she is so candid about what is going on that the journals prove so much -- all before the break happened and before she found out about Brandens' lies -- and they reveal the fact that these bogus psychological sessions were in fact going on in which Branden was concocting an entire psychological profile with many complex dimensions that was keeping him from being able to have sex, with Rand or Barbara or anyone else. Rand is angry that he is leading on Barbara so badly, and Barbara is reassuring her that Branden's condition is real and that he's trying very hard to deal with it.

I see the curiosity in Rand's private life begin and end with reading PAR, and then the usual "I have no patience for this soap opera" when it comes to taking a look at Rand's side of the story. Suddenly it's "What's the big deal?"

We hear from Ellen that she never even met Patrecia but is willing to believe the hearsay of people who were every bit as psychophantic toward the Brandens as they were to Rand.

If you want to read more that I've written you can buy one of my novels, Rich.

Jeeze, it's pointless arguing any of this stuff with folks who have not and will not read Rand's side of the story because they are too invested in the monster created by the Brandens. Averting their eyes from the truth while calling those who have seen it idolators is their stock in trade.

Fred,

Thanks for the reasonoable response. I suspected there might be a methodology issue that skews the numbers since both Rand and Branden agreed on the point that he was not contributing an equal amount to The Objectivist. Thanks for confirming that. I would suspect that original work that treats an entire subject in a comprehensive manner would be counted as articles by Branden and Rand, and that is where they seemed to agree he was not contributing as much.




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Post 206

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 1:12pmSanction this postReply
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Hey Casey,

Well, I'm actually very glad to hear that Rand really does do her share of soul searching about the episode.  I'm sorry if I perpetuated a misunderstanding.  From what I've read of Rand's own writing and my own experience with idolaters, Merlin's assessment struck a chord with me.  That's all.  Truly Casey, you may not idolize Rand, but your writing tends to give a different impression.  I'm sorry I'm not as yet interested enough in the Break to read either PAR or PARC in their entirety.  I have no investment in the Brandens.  I have yet to have much invested in Ayn Rand.  I find that I have an investment in this community and objective inquiry.  I find the controversy around Ayn Rand, from the point of view of essential psychological issues extremely interesting.  I commented here as someone quite literally outside the controversy.  On those occasions when I find myself embroiled in heady controversies like this here, I appreciate (at least in retrospect) such outside reality checks. 

I still believe that quoting Rand's journals is the ultimate argument from authority.  I still have a big problem with refuting a person's bad rep by quoting that person's own journals, on principle.  How can anyone interested in objective reality support such a cockamamy idea?  Help me to understand that one point. 

-Kevin



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Post 207

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 1:22pmSanction this postReply
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I wrote:

"My impressions of Patrecia are second-hand from people who did know her. Those people include my husband (then "significant other") and a number of others (some of whom didn't like Nathaniel at all), all of whom liked Patrecia very much and gave reports which agreed as to what she was like."

Casey, all of four posts later in the queue, writes:

"We hear from Ellen that she never even met Patrecia but is willing to believe the hearsay of people who were every bit as psychophantic toward the Brandens as they were to Rand."

He got the first half of his description of what I said (the part about my never having met Patrecia) correct.

Casey,

Do you suppose that people here can't read what I actually did say? Where do you get your description "the hearsay of people who were every bit as psychophantic toward the Brandens as they were to Rand"?

And hint: When I'm confronted by a poster who so blatantly distorts what I myself wrote, I am not inspired to confidence in said poster's reports of anything anyone else has said.

Ellen



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Post 208

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 1:34pmSanction this postReply
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You haven't read PARC but you're willing to believe everything the admitted and proven liars, the Brandens, have to say about Rand and have the nerve to call me an idolator, etc.? Takes the cake, that.
 
No, Casey, what I'm telling you is that I don't give a flying fuck what AR, the Brandens, and their spouses went through during what was a miserable interpersonal mess. It doesn't matter whose fault it was, they all made mistakes. I'm telling you that AR's, Nathaniel's, and Barbara's work stand on their own and are valuable to me no matter how they fiddle-fucked up their personal lives decades ago. I'm telling you that something like "The Art of Living Consciously" stands and always will stand miles and miles above any book written about squalid interpersonal messes. It will mean more to more people, it will change more lives for the better. It will help people evolve as human beings, and that trumps out holding court and judgment on people who actually make things significant to the process of human evolution, just like Atlas does, and many, many other things people write.  I'm telling you that if I want to read about the good old days, I will read it by someone who was actually there, and I will have the wisdom to know that it is a personal account. I'm telling you that those two existing books, and anything I've ever read on a forum or in personal email by anyone that was there, good or bad, never took a stitch away from who AR is to me. No, I'm not going to buy the book because, and I'm sure it's written very nicely, there is no value in it for me. 

Idolatry? Yup, that's what I'm saying. It's the only viable explanation. Chop logic all you want, this is cult of personality stuff for the hardliners. It's a hobby, it's a fan club, just jacked up a few notches.  






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Post 209

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 1:35pmSanction this postReply
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Ellen-
It's been the modus operandi used against anyone who says anything positive about anyone who has ever said anything negative about Ayn.

Oh...and then it's followed by salesmanship along the lines of "you haven't read PARC ergo you are ignorant."




Post 210

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 2:02pmSanction this postReply
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Ellen wrote,
"However, I broke down on this thread probably most of all because of a post by Jonathan."


Sorry!

;-)
J




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Post 211

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 2:08pmSanction this postReply
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Casey wrote:
Merlin, Kevin and Rich,
You haven't read PARC but you're willing to believe everything the admitted and proven liars, the Brandens, have to say about Rand and have the nerve to call me an idolator, etc.? Takes the cake, that.
You are mighty presumptuous. How do you know what I believe (beyond what I wrote)? Firstly, it's impossible that I believe everything the Brandens said about Rand, since I have not read N. Branden's books. Secondly, I did not swallow whole what B. Branden wrote, since she was an involved party. But are you suggesting that every word she wrote about Rand was a lie?

Now you say Rand lamented having the affair. What a surprise! On the other hand, it does not address her own responsibility for the affair and how it went.

Ellen S. to Casey:
When I'm confronted by a poster who so blatantly distorts what I myself wrote, I am not inspired to confidence in said poster's reports of anything anyone else has said.
Ditto.

Jody wrote:
Oh...and then it's followed by salesmanship along the lines of "you haven't read PARC ergo you are ignorant."
Ha ha.




Post 212

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 2:16pmSanction this postReply
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From J.:

"Ellen wrote,
'However, I broke down on this thread probably most of all because of a post by Jonathan.'
Sorry!
;-)
J"

That lighted my day, J! (You always do have the gift of producing delighted laughter on yours truly's part.)

E-

[Spelling edit. Where's Roland? Ooops, wrong list.]
(Edited by Lysandra
on 11/29, 2:21pm)




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Post 213

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 4:35pmSanction this postReply
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The "expectations" of some here turn out to be just prejudices. For example, Rand calls the affair a "mistake" -- although she does not question its morality, in principle -- which, she writes, should have ended years before it did. This is but one example.


(Edited by James S. Valliant
on 11/29, 4:36pm)




Post 214

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 4:54pmSanction this postReply
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Casey,

I sincerely regret having met you over this issue.

Yes, you have written some things. I remember hearing good things about your children's stories, but I just did a Google search to make sure and also came across a fantasy, The Seven Isles of Ameulas.

I intend to read these works. The title of your fantasy sounds very suggestive.

Michael




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Post 215

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 6:15pmSanction this postReply
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>"Show me who a person sleeps with, and I'll diagnose the state of that person's soul." Well...yes and no. There's a sort of truth in this idea. But one has to know just a tremendous amount of detail idiosyncratic to a person to understand that person's sexual responses. [Ellen]

Ellen, I don'[t know if you are suggesting otherwise, but while I agree with your statement above, there is a sense in which I agree with Rand's statement as well:

With Rand's statements like this, what does she intend to convey? I always assumed she meant what *category* of person, such as a slut vs. a producer, a sloth vs. an energetic person, a vicious person vs. a nice one. When someone makes an aphorism, as Rand was wont to do, you have to project a context in which it applies. As stitch in time saves nine. Russia is a riddle wrapped inside a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to relive it....A little hyperbole is okay for literary effect because the reader is expected to strip that out and grasp the context...and one doesn't take it literally, no more than one does with metaphors and symbolism. (Rand has hundreds of statements like this, as do most effective writers.)

You don't -literally- try to make a judgment on people's romantic partners who you do not know in some depth (nor do you know the details of what particular value is being sought) ... many posters on this thread and others to the contrary notwithstanding, who seem to enjoy flailing about drawing definite conclusions from a distance about the romantic interests and partners of Rand, Branden, and presumably their neighbors, their workers, and others.

Phil





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Post 216

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 6:54pmSanction this postReply
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One of the great ironies of this discussion, for me personally, comes from knowing Casey so well. He's the last of my friends, a dubious collection, to be sure, of whom I would use the term "Randroid." He's "got a life," a pretty cool one filled with a variety of values, one which until this year had very little to do with the defense of Ayn Rand.

To everyone who might be interested: READ ANY BOOK BY CASEY! You will will see what I mean,

May I recommend THE BOT STORY, as well? It's dynamite!



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Post 217

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 7:32pmSanction this postReply
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James,

I don't doubt it. That he posts here at all probably puts him out of the Randroid category. I even bought your book now ;-).

Jim




Post 218

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 7:52pmSanction this postReply
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Phil, you quote a segment from my post 178:

> "Show me who a person sleeps with, and I'll diagnose the
> state of that person's soul." Well...yes and no. There's
> a sort of truth in this idea. But one has to know just
> a tremendous amount of detail idiosyncratic to a person
> to understand that person's sexual responses. [Ellen]

You then write:

"Ellen, I don'[t know if you are suggesting otherwise, but while I agree with your statement above, there is a sense in which I agree with Rand's statement as well:

"With Rand's statements like this, what does she intend to convey?"

The quoted sentence is NOT a direct quote from Rand. I thought it was clear from the original context that I was synopsizing -- in my own words -- a parallel sentiment to the (reportedly) old Arab proverb I'd quoted. Yikes! I hope I'm not now going to be accused of making up a quote and attributing it to Rand. ;-) Insofar as I'm aware, she never said in those exact words what I wrote. Therefore what she might have meant by words she didn't write is hard to ponder. Although had she herself written those words, I'd agree with you that one would "have to project a context in which [the aphorism] applies."

Ellen S.

PS (added later): Rand would have been most unlikely to have used the phrasing "Show me who a person sleeps with." Although, these days, even writers who are knowledgeable of and particular about grammar often use "who" in a context where "whom" would have been called for by the traditional rules, Rand was meticulous about using "whom" -- even, at times, in a context where this usage seemed strained. An example I recall off hand is the scene in Atlas where Dagny is talking to the tramp on the train, the person who tells her the story of the 20th Century Motor Company. The tramp uses "whom" in a sentence of dialogue where a person just talking instead of formally writing would have said "who."
(Edited by Lysandra
on 11/29, 8:04pm)




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Post 219

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 7:55pmSanction this postReply
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I echo James' testimonial for Casey. Casey & I have spoken several times by phone. He's a delight. Anyone less "Randroid" is hard to imagine. We even have pet names for each other other already. He calls me "Pig Spew" & I call him "Lark Vomit." Hardly Randroidian. :-)

Linz



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