[an error occurred while processing this directive]
About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Forward one pageLast Page


Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 60

Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 9:06amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks for the insightful addendum, Michael!

You made many good points (points beyond my own).

Ed



Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 61

Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 10:08amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Whenever we write to make a point, we always have an audience in mind. Whom are we trying to convince? Are we preaching to the choir? Are we trying to make a new convert? It occurred to me that in starting this thread, I was hoping to reach the very people I was criticizing by trying to persuade them to be more rational and independent in their thinking. But then it occurred to me that if they were willing to change their minds, they wouldn't be the true believers that I was addressing, and that if they were in fact the true believers I was addressing, they wouldn't be willing to change their minds. Does this mean that it is pointless to advocate intellectual independence as a virtue, for either you have it, in which case, you don't need to be convinced, or you don't, in which case, trying to convince you of it is a waste of time?

- Bill



Sanction: 10, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 10, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 10, No Sanction: 0
Post 62

Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 10:13amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Someone, in a literary universe long ago and far away, put it thusly:

To those who understand, no explanation is necessary -- and to those who do not understand, no explanation is possible. :-)

ET, phone home!

Roger Bissell, Post-Randian musician/writer




Post 63

Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 10:21amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
William,
But then it occurred to me that if they were willing to change their minds, they wouldn't be the true believers that I was addressing, and that if they were in fact the true believers I was addressing, they wouldn't be willing to change their minds.
I think you're right on this point. I think the best solution, given these circumstances, is to teach by example and let them figure it out themselves. Would that not be the first step in standing on your own two intellectual feet? So I don't think it's pointless to advocate intellectual independence, but don't expect people to line up just because you do so.

Sarah



Post 64

Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 10:33amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Dwyer,

Good question. Simply telling people they ought to intellectually independent is often not effective. Either they think they already are, or they think the suggestion is lame. Showing them how to be intellectually independent, or reinforcing their behavior when they do -- these are your best bets. Basically, if someone exhibits behaviors that veer far enough away from intellectual independence, then work to steer them back if it's worth it to you. This can be done in a variety of ways. There's an art to it.

Jordan

EDIT: Sarah, we crossed posts. You beat me to part of my point.

(Edited by Jordan on 9/29, 10:34am)




Post 65

Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 10:57amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Yes, there is an Art to it - indeed, that is the purpose of being an artist, to be a spiritual visualizer... to show, thru examplifying - either via paintings or sculptures or literary works - how to go about flourishing as a human, how to take the materials about oneself and make value to them... viable value, and why they be viable value...
(Edited by robert malcom on 9/29, 11:00am)




Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 66

Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 2:09pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Bill:
>Does this mean that it is pointless to advocate intellectual independence as a virtue, for either you have it, in which case, you don't need to be convinced, or you don't, in which case, trying to convince you of it is a waste of time?

I think all people are both intellectually dependent *and* independent, so the dilemma is not as irresolvable as it might seem.

We are intellectually dependent, first of all, on our surrounding culture, which is both consciously and unconsciously taught. This intellectual dependency is both vast and inevitable, and contains a multitude of both good and bad, true and false things. One thing is certain, however - we could barely survive without it (imagine if we had no inherited language...) So there is a verifiable human need, no doubt selected for by now, for intellectual dependence of some sort or other.

On the other hand, we are all also *individuals* within this inherited culture, with unique experiences, thoughts, and knowledge that we blend and exchange with our various inheritances. We can *examine* our inheritance from this independent perspective - try to sort the good from the bad, the true from the false, the beneficial from the harmful. Like any inheritance, we can criticise elements of it, and put it to our own ends, even if it is too large for us to ever completely assess.

So it's not possible to be *totally* intellectually independent - but the upside of that is, it's not possible to be totally *dependent* either! Thats why no Marxist de-Bourgeouis-ification Program (or "fully integrated" Randroid-ification) can ever be complete - there is always some independent thought possible. (Various people have argued this - for example, a lot of the later work of post-modern writer Michel Foucault is an attempt to show that even the most totalitarian system cannot be comprehensive enough to control all individual thought). That is the basic reason why ongoing debate is so important - you never quite know how it's going to play out, even with the most diehard fundamentalist. And especially if that fundamentalist is *yourself*...;-)

So we can strive to be *as independent as possible* in our thinking, which means to be as critical and questioning as possible. Inevitably even the most critical thinker will hold dogmas, just for economy's sake - but that is no major issue, so long as we hold them lightly.

On the other hand, we can strive to be *as unquestioning as possible* - whether to society's dictates, or the dictates of any number of anti-society groups, it does not matter - to maximise our emotional needs for certainty. However, *either way* it comes at the cost of our rational need for critical freedom. (And of course we can even rationalise these various obediences - this is effectively what positivism is all about).

So fundamentally it comes down to an *individual moral choice* - to question, or not to question?

That is the question.

- Daniel




(Edited by Daniel Barnes
on 9/29, 2:10pm)




Sanction: 22, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 22, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 22, No Sanction: 0
Post 67

Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 7:11pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Maybe I've missed it in my scanning this thread, but I'm suprised that no one here has called this mulit-culti, pomo spade just what it is.  This 'cult' musing is nothing but relativism in disguise, and from what I've seen everyone here has accepted the terms of the wankers and began their defense from those terms.  Any charge against objectivism as a cult always mistakes(at least pretends an honest mistake) true individualism for pseudo-individualism and says in essence that the nature of a cult is any group of people who instead of holding to the creation of their own reality, actually have the audacity to believe in reason and objective reality.  If objective reality exists and if reason is our means of dealing with it, then anyone who follows those tenets is not only going to agree, because of what they KNOW reality to be, but they are going to be indignant towards attackers, because their ability to live their lives depends upon it.  These purveyors of the charge "cult" can be demolished by anyone who truly understands the passage in the Fountainhead where Toohey is accused of surrounding himself with rabid individualists and he responds "Do you really think so?"

There was at least one pomo here who alluded to Michael Shermer's essay about objectivism: The Unlikeliest Cult.  Shermer makes no effort at all to hide his multi-culti, pomo leanings.  I'll quote directly from his conclusion of his attack upon objectism:

"Morality is relative to the moral frame of reference.  As long as it is understood that morality is a human construction influenced by human cultures, one can be more tolerant of other human belief systems, and thus other humans.  But as soon as a group sets itself up as the final moral arbiter of other people's actions, especially when its members believe they have discovered absolute standards of right and wrong, it marks the beginning of the end of tolerance, and thus reason and rationality.  It is this characteristic more than any other that makes a cult, a religion, a nation, or any other group dangerous to individual freedom.  Its absolutism was the biggest flaw in Ayn Rand's Objectivism, the unlikeliest cult in history..."

In other words, because you dare to state that reality is what it is, because you know that reason is the only way to ascertain this you are labelled as a member of a cult because more than one person agrees with you and also sees reality for what it is.  Why can't you allow for other 'logics' and other 'realities'?  DO NOT ACCEPT THEIR PREMISES,




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 68

Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 10:03pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks Jody!

That was refreshing ... no ... exhilarating!

In reverent agreement then,

Ed



Sanction: 8, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 8, No Sanction: 0
Post 69

Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 11:24pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
... especially when its members believe they have discovered absolute standards of right and wrong, it marks the beginning of the end of tolerance, and thus reason and rationality ...

What ignorant tripe. How can one assert that tolerance is a value (or a prerequisite for reason and rationality) without believing that it is right *absolutely*? And why couldn't an ethical system that upholds absolute standards of right and wrong include a standard, a la John Locke, that it is wrong to force those standards on other people (which is exactly what the NIOF standard does)?

Of course, what Shermer probably has in mind when he says "tolerance" is not "refraining from forcing one's standards on others," but rather, "refraining from pointing out the errors and weaknesses in the standards that others have adopted." And this is, as Jody rightly calls it, multiculti pomo crap.

I really fail to see the point in trying to convince people who think you're a cultist that you aren't one. It goes back to Ayn Rand's point about a basic level of respect and good faith being necessary for an exchange of ideas between rational minds. If the other guy thinks everything you're saying is just the deluded regurgitations of a surrendered mind, he'll readily ignore any of your arguments, no matter how strong they may be. A case in point: the way the "Objectivists are cultlike" crowd on this thread has completely ignored Ed's *Objectivism is incompatible with cultism* point in Post 18.

(Wow, look at all that loaded language in my posts! Since I'm already in Montana, who wants to come build a cult compound with me?)




Post 70

Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 11:49pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Andrew,

===========
Since I'm already in Montana, who wants to come build a cult compound with me?
===========

Me!!! I have often dreamed of obtaining an M-29 (Objective Individual Combat Weapon) -- a weapon produced in my home state! -- and becoming one of ye' ole' Montana Mountain Men Militia. Think about it. Your own improvised Constitution (with the problematic interstate commerce & "general welfare" delimited to acknowledge individual rights). No taxes. No Social Security. No Medicare/Medicaid. Freedom, freedom, freedom -- until its flowing out of my ears!

Montana -- where there is no speed limit (on freeways) during daylight hours! Galt's Gulch, here I come!

Yippekiyaye, mother-$%#$-er!

Ed




Post 71

Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 11:55pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I personally try to be a cult unto myself, leading me and following me at the same time.

Grrrrrrrrghhhmchnls!...

(Sorry guys, it's too late for this crap...)

Michael




Sanction: 31, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 31, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 31, No Sanction: 0
Post 72

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 1:32amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Jody, of course I agree with what you say here, but it doesn't negate the points that I made in the post that initiated this thread. Or do you think it does? If so, please go back and read my original post, and tell me exactly where you disagree.

Of course, Shermer is wrong - wrong in spades - but that doesn't mean that it is wrong for those who support the launching of this philosophical rocket called "Objectivism" to say something like, "Houston, we have a problem." For we do indeed have a problem, and it will not do to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it will all go away if only we refuse to acknowledge its existence.

My encounters with orthodox Objectivists have simply been bizarre. There is no other word to describe it. These folks are so uptight, so suspicious of heresy and so fearful of "tolerating" even the slightest disagreement that they cannot entertain any kind of open and honest philosophical discussion or debate. I'm not saying that one has to tolerate overt hostility, aggressive attacks or belligerent and outrageous criticism. But the people I've encountered have no common sense when it comes to dealing with even the mildest form of disagreement.

Several years ago, I joined a group of students studying Peikoff's OPAR, but when I questioned something Peikoff said, I got strange and suspicious looks from the organizer, who subsequently left a note on my answering machine informing me that I was no longer welcome. I asked a simple question at an Objectivist conference that challenged something Peter Schwartz said and was treated like a pariah by one of ARI's leading intellectuals. And just recently, I was kicked off of Diana Hsieh's blog, because of my post here on SOLO. This, by the way, was after I was told that if I posted there on a particular issue I would have my posts deleted, not because I was using profanity or being uncivil, but just because I was defending a statement made by someone else that she didn't think was accurate.

This kind of behavior has been repeated often enough and in enough different contexts that it cannot simply be dismissed as an isolated occurrence. There is a definite pattern to it, and the pattern stems from the principals at ARI who have managed to convey to their students that this is how dissenters must be dealt with. It also goes back to NBI, which threatened to cancel subscriptions (to The Objectivist Newsletter) if students asked the wrong questions at their lectures. A friend of mine had his subscription to The Objectivist Forum cancelled, because he published a magazine in which people were allowed to write articles pro and con on various aspects of Objectivism. Harry Binswanger read one of the articles, which he didn't like, and returned my friend's request for renewal along with a nasty note telling him that it was being rejected.

This manner of dealing with people is ridiculous, but it is alive and well even today, and it is what will probably prevent Objectivism from gaining a significant foothold. Every good business person knows that you can't alienate your potential customers and expect to succeed. Yet, despite their vaunted knowledge of capitalism and their advocacy of reason, this is something that Objectivists have yet to learn.

- Bill

"A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." - Joan Robinson




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 73

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 3:03amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Bill Dwyer, my dear, courageous friendóread SOLO's Credo & it will tell you we recognised that "Houston, we have a problem" from the start. It's why we're here. We're trying to fix it, without falling into the "bloodless ecumenism" of the previous attempt to fix it. IOS started with a hiss and a roar, then went to sleep and got invaded by a Trojan horse called "anything goes & can't we all just get on?" I know they're claiming to have awakened, and I hope that's true, but so far there's little sign of it. Ours is a crusading philosophy. Pomo-type ennui is just as deadly to it as Binswanger/Schwartz-style studied obnoxiousness. We're trying to avoid both by emphasising the falsity of the reason/passion dichotomy and the efficacy of rational passion and passionate reason. ARI partisans, TOC partisans and the homeless interact here quite freely. The results of this can be quite messy, as recent storms attest, but it would seem these go with the territory. In any event, I'm as glad to see you here on this occasion as I was on previous ones, & I hope that you'll make a habit of being here in future!

Linz



Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Post 74

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 8:17amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
High Priest MSK wrote:

"I personally try to be a cult unto myself, leading me and following me at the same time."

Same here. Though I seem to be having trouble attracting "female groupies."

Any thoughts? :-)



Post 75

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 8:35amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
William,

I'm not fond of stepping into Piled Higher and Deeper land, but let me point to a premise which you need to check.

Objectivism (and/or ARI) is a business looking for customers. ( therefore: It can't legitimately refuse service to anyone)

On other threads here I have asked people to question the  following premises as well:

1. I personally have something to contribute to Objectivism or its spread by disagreeing with it on some issue, no matter what the issue or how badly I make my case.

2. If I raise a question, no matter what it is or how I ask it, and no matter how much I project my hostility, I should be listened to politely and without returned fire.

3. ARI is a debating society.

4. I shouldn't have to prove myself to anyone to be treated as an equal.

5. A 'closed system' is a false system.

6. If I say it's part of Objectivism, it is; I don't care what anybody else says or what their standing.

7. Nah-nah-nah is an argument.

8. Treating me or anyone else like shit is ridiculous, no matter how much I smell.

Tom

(Edited by Tom Rowland on 9/30, 8:45am)




Post 76

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 8:47amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Tom

You just wrote:
A 'closed system' is a false system.
A couple of quotes are in order.

Leonard Peikoff - Fact and Value
Kelley states that Ayn Rand's philosophy, though magnificent, "is not a closed system." Yes, it is.
Lindsay Perigo - Of Fundamentals and Fidelity
I agree with Leonard Peikoff that Objectivism is a closed system.
Michael


Edit. I couldn't resist. One other quote.

Tom Rowland. The Ayn Rand Forum
I am a staunce [sic] advocate of ARI and of it's commitment to a closed system.

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 9/30, 9:16am)




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 77

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 9:01amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
William,

I think the behaviour you describe is appalling. It goes against John Galt's crucial idea of thinking for yourself and not living your life for anyone else. I could understand their behaviour if they had really hostile left-wing people trying to hijack their organisation, but treating genuine supporters like that is really bad. If it goes back to NBI, that implies not only the ARI group, but also the Brandens at the time they were involved with NBI and possibly Ayn Rand herself, supported this type of behaviour. As someone relatively new to Objectivism, I'm disappointed to hear about this and it makes me appreciate SOLO all the more.

Jillian.




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 78

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 9:12amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Bill,

===============
My encounters with orthodox Objectivists have simply been bizarre. There is no other word to describe it. These folks are so uptight, so suspicious of heresy and so fearful of "tolerating" even the slightest disagreement ...
===============

Bill, you have my sympathies. The behavior you are describing stems from the "reactive personalities" of folks who haven't yet attained "psychological maturity." As I was reading this quote by you I was thinking: Well, Bill hasn't met ME yet -- an orthodox Objectivist who isn't "uptight," who isn't "fearful of tolerating even the slightest disagreement." I am more psychologically mature than many of the most well-known Objectivists.

But then I realized: It is not I who is in the driver's seat of the orthodoxy, it is not I pulling the Wizard of Oz pulleys which control the appearances, the direction, the outcome of these organizations. My contextually over-inflated ego had burst, and I now see this sad state of affairs from the sidelines. Linz is right that SOLO is the right anti-dote to this wrong state of affairs.

With all that said, Tom's 9 points remain salient -- and ought not be casually swept aside (thanks for those, Tom).

Ed



Post 79

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 9:24amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ed,

Thanks back.

If I wanted to wade some more in these muddy waters I'd say more, but I'll just leave it as it is and trust.

Tom




Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Forward one pageLast Page
[an error occurred while processing this directive]


User ID Password or create a free account.