Objectivism Is The Everyman's Philosophy
In the universe, what you see is what you get,
figuring it out for yourself is the way to happiness,
and each person's independence is respected by all
Rand's Philosophy in Her Own Words
- "Metaphysics: Objective Reality" "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed/Wishing won’t make it so." "The universe exists independent of consciousness"
- "Epistemology: Reason" "You can’t eat your cake and have it, too." "Thinking is man’s only basic virtue"
- "Ethics: Self-interest" "Man is an end in himself." "Man must act for his own rational self-interest" "The purpose of morality is to teach you[...] to enjoy yourself and live"
- "Politics: Capitalism" "Give me liberty or give me death." "If life on earth is [a man's] purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being"
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I'm starting a new thread, so it's easier to follow. I, accidentaly, made several points in one post: 1. Pleasure is subjective, meaning that the interpretation of something as being pleasurable depends on one's individuality. I also do not think there is such a thing as "objective pleasure". Any "objective sensation" as such. Sensations in themselves do not have to conform to reality. They ARE reality. Sensations are NOT man-made, because they are automatic responses, just like emotions. They are part of man, but they not the result of his conscious focusing. What exists is OPTIMAL sensation, or an OPTIMAL emotions, but getting there is a different story. Ayn Rand makes a good job of identifying what this optimal is, in some circumstances, but getting there is spotty, at least. I am also told that one can change his emotional evaluations by focusing his mind. I wish things were so easy! I think that this is the most eloquent proof of Ayn Rand's severly poor grasp of psychology and her unwillingless to integrate this centry's breakthroughs in this field. It is true that conscious examination of emotions are reality can have SOME effects on your emotional functioning, but saying that emotions can be changed by simply re-examining your stance is like claiming that you can order your intestine to stop working if you think about it. Emotional change is achievable, mainly thru different forms of therapy. Most therapies ARE reason-based, and the therapist's role is to challenge the patient's irrationalities. Another point I'd like to make is that focusing one's mind is completly USELESS in some cases, since focusing requires a target, and if your mind employes defense mechanisms such as denial or repression, the object of your irrationality or problems is hidden from consciousness. You simply don't consider it. It takes an independent mind, that of the threrapist, to go where your mind won't lead you to. "Check your premisses"... fine and dandy, but WHICH premisses? Do I have the certainty that they are accesible to my consciousness? No. In the case of repression, you can go on for YEARs and completly miss the point. 2. Sexuality is yet another example of Objectivism's poor grasp of human nature (both the common and the individual). My initial point, which was not contested, is that ROMANCE and SEX are two different needs. Things are complicated by the fact that romance implies sex, while sex does not imply romance. Actually, I have not seen ANY rational argument to support the idea that sexual behaviour is restricted to romantic contexts. What I have seen, and agreed with, is that sexuality is not bound by Ayn Rand's narrow view of romance, and that even if there's some overlapping between sex and romance, they are 2 completly separate issues. Sex is NOT the body, and Romance is NOT the mind. Both are needs of the ENTIRE MAN. The sexual need has a mental component, and romance has a psysical component, but they are different needs. If you see a gorgeous woman on the street, you are not aroused by her towering intellect and her commitment to reason. You just want to have her, sexually. You desire her in a sexual manner. There are mental implications, but they are not romance. I do not wish to have a romantic relationship with her. I wish for us to enjoy sex together. Corespondingly, if I meet an intelligent and rational woman, and I fall in love with her, then I'll desire a romantic relationship with her. This relationship will imply sex, but that doesn't mean that I won't feel attracted to other women, or that I expect her to fullfill all of my sexual desires. Again, focusing my mind will not prevent me from feeling attracted to that big-boobed collectivist, or fall in love with her. Does that mean that I should pursue these distructive impulses? NO. Does that mean I should fake it, and lie to myself, claiming that my mind can change feelings? NO. To sum it up, I claim that your mind has total control on your actions, NOT on your automated fuctions (digestion, heartbeat, emotions). Also, sometimes acting out emotions that do not match your conscious conclusion can be beneficial to relieve the tension of unsatisfied emotions. (consistetly deying yourself and your current status can only get you into a mental hospital, not closer to your ideal). People are different, including you, and you should work with that. This is NOT subjectivism. Reality is ONE, but there are many ways in which you can reach a harmonious agreement between reality and your own goals. Ayn Rand's sollution, namely total denial and repression (as seen in Roarke, Dagny, and every other major character), might not work for your. Her sollution worked for her, and gave her certain results. She had a view of man's mind, and she meant it. Were her results best? I'd say that she could have done a much better job. 3. Regarding gender roles... man and women differ in 2 areas: the structure of their genitalia, and some hormonal levels. Now, if you can explaim to me why hormones or penises should stand in the way of a woman who wants to become president, you're welcomed to try. Also, I can't see why it's ok for women "just to feel" (which also implies that feeling is somewhat dirty) while for men it's not. Man's larger body might be an argument in 200BC, but today it stands little chance, ESPECIALLY in a civilization of individual rights. 4. Regarding mind-focusing, I think we'll all agree that it's not omnipotent. There are boundaties to what you can, and cannot do, with your mind to yourself. Also, focusing implies effort, and consumption of resources. Noone can think/focus at all time. Noone ever did. Therefore, the quest is to find the equlibirium between focusing and unfocusing, and critically selecting which issues require attention. (Focusing on your job might be more beneficial that trying to repress-away your attraction to that hot nihilist goth girl). I think it all boils down to what man is, and how he can change himself. Unfortunatelly, I'm sad to say that I'd take Freud's, or Adler's, or Ellis' theory over Ayn Rand's any day. Her view is severly incomplete and does not match the reality of man. Man is a being of "volitional consciousness", therefore he is an animal CAPABLE of reason. He is also an animal capable of a bunch of other things, which all take part in his mental and psysical life. Man, using his mental tools, is in a continous feedback with reality. He is a blend of reason and irational, a blend of focus and unfocus, an equilibirium between what reality and society imposses, and his own personal wished as experiences. Is man man-made, meaning that is man only the result of his creative reasoning? No. Does reason take a part in shaping one's self? Yes, a big one. Is there such a thing as an optimal approach to life? Yes. Is it individual, depending on where each of us starts? Yes. Did Ayn Rand offer us a valid, universal sollution to life? Partially. Is the use of emotional models, such as John Galt, useful? No. Why? Because I think that this particular model lies outside of the posibilities of men. Generally, I largely agree with Objectivism. What I disagree with is its view on art and its view of man (but not in a way to change my views on Epistemology, or Ethics).
Hey, I'm Suv from India. I stumbled upon Ayn Rand, when I was 15, in the midst of what I now know as "psycho-epistemological" confusion, caused by reading philosophers of the mystic-altruistic axis, and trying to reconcile their words to my conception of reality. ( They actually mean this is what I told myself...and paid a heavy price...last time I was trying to "understand"- 'The world is an illusion' ) I'm 19 now, and much happier, I play professional soccer, and would like to visit US for college. Since I was a kid, I knew there was something in the US- it was a kind of emotional connection- given the muck I live in. And when some US guys talk of one culture being as good as another and all that...it really is amusing. Which university has a strong Ayn Rand presence on campus? I mean has a strong commitment towards rationality in its outlook? 'Cause I'll apply there next fall. Thanks, Suv
Hi board users, some of you may have noticed that last week I activated a board feature called "Forthcoming calendar events" which you can see at the bottom of the main forum page, in the board statistics area. The way it works is that if there is an event coming up, you can enter it in the board calendar (the link for which is at the top of the page on the right side), and that event will be announced in the "Forthcoming calendar events" area some specified number of days in advance. For instance, OCON 2003 begins in seven days--I entered it as an event on the calendar, and now you can see that event in the "Forthcoming calendar events" area on the main forum page (and click on it for more information). I thought that this would be a good idea to use in conjunction with the "Speakers and Events" forum. Events could be announced through the calendar as well as in that forum, and then further discussion of the events could take place in the forum. It would help remind people of what events are coming up and when, so they can plan to attend if possible (and if they want to). So what do you guys think? Normally, I'm not a fan of opinion polls. But I figured that if no one is going to use it, then I can save space on the main forum page and remove it. It probably won't get a lot of use for a while, since the board doesn't have too many active users yet, but I think in time, as the board grows and more people get involved, it could be a useful feature. So let me know what you think!
Many of you already know me from the conference and/or the OAC. Just thought I'd announce my presence to this forum. And I simply must congratulate David on his websites. Fancy stuff! For those who do not know me, I will be going into my second year at the OAC, and I run the St. John's College Objectivist Club in Annapolis, Maryland. --Daniel Schwartz