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Objectivist Billionaires

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Personally, I wouldn't *want* to be a billionaire: it's WAY more work than I'd be willing to do for something as pointless as loads of money. Once you have enough to achieve the lifestyle you want, why pursue more?
This is an important fact that many people don't understand about Objectivism. Objectivism does not hold that cash is the highest value and that the pursuit of maximal cash is man's goal in life. What's important is rational integration of knowledge so that you understand your own nature and can correctly identify the actions that enhance your life; that you be productive. Whether that yields a big wad of bills is a lower-order consideration. It would be eminently irrational to sacrifice a career where you actively and productively use your mind focused on a particular question, in favor of an intellectually repugnant activity that yields a pot of gold.

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Squandering your talents means spending your time doing what someone else thinks you ought to do instead of what you actually want to do. I choose not to squander my talents desperately climbing the corporate ladder or engaged in other activities I detest.

I dont know that I would necessarily classify climbing the corporate ladder as squandering ones talents. Sometimes you have to do what you might detest and do what others want you to do in order to get to the point where others do what you want them to do.

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I dont know that I would necessarily classify climbing the corporate ladder as squandering ones talents. Sometimes you have to do what you might detest and do what others want you to do in order to get to the point where others do what you want them to do.

Fletch,

That's a bit of a Gail Wynand perspective on corporate advancement. There are ways to view and accomplish corporate advancment without doing things you "detest", if by detest you mean find ethically or morally unpalatable. If Jenni feels that corporate advancement requires her to do things she detests, then she shoudl not do them. If you feel that corporate advancement requires you to do things you detes, then you should not do them. But if you (or Jenni) are implying that there is no way to advance in a corporation without doing things one detests, then I would disagree with that emphatically. That takes a negative view of corporate organizations as such, which is incorrect way to think about it.

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I dont know that I would necessarily classify climbing the corporate ladder as squandering ones talents. Sometimes you have to do what you might detest and do what others want you to do in order to get to the point where others do what you want them to do.

Besides Kendall's objection, I would add: sometimes you do have to do things you'd rather not in order to earn your place in a company. This might be something that is worth it to you. For other people, like Jennifer, it may not be worth it. She might have other values that she would rather pursue.

She might have other ways, even, of expressing her productiveness than becoming wealthy or recognized or otherwise rewarded by others (note the second-handedness of that metric). Perhaps it is more worth it to her to run a simple shop in the country that makes the best damn pie in the land than to climb the corporate ladder at PieCo. She may not become wealthy or recognized or famous like she could at PieCo, but you know what? To some people, working completely on their own terms is far, far more important.

So the criticism of this thread is totally invalid - there are plenty of perfectly legitimate reasons (the above is just one of many) that can be named for why an individual might not want to be rich, or famous, or the recognized top of one's field. For a lot of people, simply doing their quiet best is the most rewarding path in life. It's a gross fit of rationalism to say that we all have to Dagny's and Reardens.

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desperately climbing the corporate ladder or engaged in other activities I detest

In defense of the Dragon Lady's comments, keep in mind she said "desperately" and "detest". That's not simply "something someone would rather not do" which sounds far more casual and less significant; perhaps the difference between intentionally misleading clients versus having to go get coffee for the boss. She can correct me if I'm wrong but I think she is referring doing things the involve compromising one's integrity in order to achieve a higher place in the company. If that is the case, what other values are worth pursuing in that effort that are greater than holding on to one's integrity?

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Hi guys,

She can correct me if I'm wrong but I think she is referring doing things the involve compromising one's integrity in order to achieve a higher place in the company.

You might be right, but I didnt read it that way. I was responding to this statement of hers in particular:

Squandering your talents means spending your time doing what someone else thinks you ought to do instead of what you actually want to do. I choose not to squander my talents desperately climbing the corporate ladder or engaged in other activities I detest.

I was not trying to suggest that one should do whatever one has to to get ahead, but rather that one must sometimes be willing and able to take orders, so that one day you will be in the position to give them. I happen to detest climbing the corporate ladder myself. Not because I believe that I had to do something that Kendall referred to as "ethically or morally unpalatable," but because I found the boot-licking and back-biting unbearable. Sucking up to an incompetent superior is just not something I am capable of doing no matter what benefits I might gain from such behavior. So I went out and found a boss I cold work with--me. I dont, however, believe that those who choose to climb the corporate ladder are necessarily "squandering their talents."

It sounds to me like JMeganSnow needs to be self-employed. I know I did.

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I dont, however, believe that those who choose to climb the corporate ladder are necessarily "squandering their talents."

Okay, but look at how she defined "squandering your talents". Her statement does not imply that everyone climbing the corporate ladder are "squandering their talents" because some people may be doing exactly what they want to be doing while their climbing that ladder. I think it's possible that you are using a definition of "squandering your talents" other than how she said she was using the phrase.

I don't see anything in her statement that condemns "climbing the corporate ladder" altogether.

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Okay, but look at how she defined "squandering your talents". Her statement does not imply that everyone climbing the corporate ladder are "squandering their talents" because some people may be doing exactly what they want to be doing while their climbing that ladder.

I dont want to belabor what is probably an inconsequential point, but if you look at how she defined 'squandering your talents," her statement does imply that everyone climbing the corporate ladder is, in fact, squandering their talents. There are two sentences here. In the first she defines what she means by the phrase:

Squandering your talents means spending your time doing what someone else thinks you ought to do instead of what you actually want to do.

In the second sentence she gives an example of what she means by it:

I choose not to squander my talents desperately climbing the corporate ladder or engaged in other activities I detest.

Here she is explicitly using climbing the corporate ladder as an example of the squandering of ones talents. Now, she may not have meant to paint all those who climb the corporate ladder in a negative light, but that is the way I read it. You, and others, seem to have read it differently. If nothing else, its a fascinating example of how two people can read the same thing and come to different conclusions! Luckily, JMeganSnow is still with us. Perhaps she will step in and clear up what she meant by the statement.

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I did look at it (in fact I read it) and I don't mind belaboring the point ( :) ) because it's clear to me that she is not condemning all those who pursue corporate ladder climbing. If you read her definition she only condemns those who are doing what others want and not what they want. This clearly leaves open a category of people who can be climbing the ladder because they ARE doing things that they want as opposed to those who are not. That's unequivocal and makes it fall short of universal condemnation.

In fact, this is backed up further by these two statements in the same post;

I think that everyone should pursue the career they enjoy without regard to whether said career will forseeably bring them *lots* of money. Some people *do* enjoy the type of work that has huge financial rewards.

The second quote you list ONLY addresses what she chooses to do, not what she expects other people to choose to do, and she's specific enough to use terms like "desperate" and "detest", stronger terms than simply indicating someone who might rather be doing other things, but are not being forced to do things that compromise their integrity. I don't understand how you can turn a statement about what she is choosing not do into a statement of universal condemnation.

I really didn't think it would be necessary to defend the idea of NOT compromising one's integrity on an Objectivist forum.

Edited by RationalBiker

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I really didn't think it would be necessary to defend the idea of NOT compromising one's integrity on an Objectivist forum.

What is that supposed to mean?

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What is that supposed to mean?

What part of it are you not understanding; the sentence itself, or how it applies to the debate at hand?

If I'm interpreting her post correctly, taken as a whole, the only disagreement I can see would be to say;

It's okay do whatever other people want you to do (the "desperately" part) even if you do not enjoy what you are doing and you are doing things you detest as long as you can get rich in the end. In other words, it's okay to sacrifice your integrity to get rich.

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I dont want to belabor what is probably an inconsequential point, but if you look at how she defined 'squandering your talents," her statement does imply that everyone climbing the corporate ladder is, in fact, squandering their talents.

I didn't read it that way. She defined "squandering your talents" as spending your time doing something that you don't want to do (but that others think you ought to). So if you simplify and sub in her sentence, it seems to me that when she said "I choose not squander my talents" doing activity X, she's simply saying that she doesn't want to waste her time doing activity X because it isn't something that she wants to do.

No where in there does that imply a universal judgment of corporate climbing as a waste of time -- simply that it is a waste of time for her.

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I did look at it (in fact I read it) and I don't mind belaboring the point ( :) ) because it's clear to me that she is not condemning all those who pursue corporate ladder climbing.

Ditto. I also read her that way, and I don't have any doubt as to her meaning.

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Since there have been some responses since I left, I will gladly address some of them.

First, the charge that this essay was a straw man (JMegan).

A straw man is a misrepresentation of your opponent’s argument (before you attack it); I’m not sure I see how this was done in my essay. If you mean that I have misrepresented Objectivism and then attacked it, that can not be correct because my thesis is precisely that the essence of Objectivism has not been followed by most Objectivists.[Also, note that my essay is not just about "billionaires", that was just in my title because I thought it captured the essence of my essay].

Now, Ayn Rand is the one who said “the sight of an achievement is the greatest gift that a human being can offer to others.”

The SIGHT of an achievement is something objective, or else how could they know it’s there. When we see it, we can all agree that THAT is a sight of an achievement. I propose that someone who has merely become very “good” at debating Objectivism (for example) does not demonstrate the sight of an achievement (unless of course it reaches a degree that is indeed indisputably supreme, after facing difficult challenges to reaching such a level, especially when one previously had no such prior abilities; THAT would be inspiring).

Someone who has not achieved (and is not realistically working towards achieving) something great that OTHERS can SEE (sight of an achievement) can not claim to have understood at least that particular Randian injunction.

Not every “achievement” can therefore qualify in this vein, because not every “achievement” will inspire others. Objectively, that means that that kind of achievement does not really take that much effort or that much heroism – overcoming real challenging hurdles to the top.

Now, does this mean that this is a second-handed goal in someone’s life? Not at all.

Firstly, if it was second-handed, Ayn Rand would not likely call it “the greatest gift one can give to others”.

Secondly, it is not different essentially from what an artist does: his work is also meant “for others” and yet we do not call it second handed. An artist inspires others with his work. An achiever inspires others by providing himself as concrete evidence for their own belief in the practicality of achievement, the integration of mind and body, heroism.

It is my personal opinion that an achiever is even more inspiring than a work of art. I am personally more inspired by the achievements of Ayn Rand – a Russian immigrant who learnt English as a second language and managed to write bestsellers in that language besides developing her own integrated philosophy of reason - than I am by the achievements of John Galt. No matter how great this character is, it remains only a fictional character, and as admirable as he is, he did not really exist, he did not really face any hurdles in life that he overcame using the power of his mind. He is certainly inspiring as a work of art. But nothing is more inspiring than the sight of an achievement, a real achievement.

It is not second-handed to aim to achieve at the highest level in business (and yes this normally implies great wealth), in fiction writing (this normally implies bestseller, which normally implies wealth in a relatively free economy), in sport, law, law enforcement, or whatever field one chooses to excel in (each has its own way of recognising eminence, or the market itself will do it).

And besides that, the response of other people to your work through their money or their awards (as long as you respect them as a sufficiently rational society) is a good measure of the quality and validity of your own work: it is therefore also an inspiration to yourself (which is precisely why capitalism actually inspires individual innovation and socialism does not), and thus a source of your happiness.

I therefore still think that there should realistically be a good number of very high and visible achievers among serious Objectivists (in their different respective fields) especially after being in those fields for a sufficiently long time. A mediocre Objectivist (in their chosen field and in life, generally) sounds like an oxymoron to me, unless I have totally misunderstood Rand’s philosophy.

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Ayn Rand is the one who said “the sight of an achievement is the greatest gift that a human being can offer to others.”

That maybe so but claiming such does not mean that that is the reason for wanting to achieve. Creating inspiration is/should be a secondary for anyone, including artists (and it was secondary for Rand - since you brought her up).

But nothing is more inspiring than the sight of an achievement, a real achievement.

That is true.

It is not second-handed to aim to achieve at the highest level in business (and yes this normally implies great wealth), in fiction writing (this normally implies bestseller, which normally implies wealth in a relatively free economy), in sport, law, law enforcement, or whatever field one chooses to excel in (each has its own way of recognising eminence, or the market itself will do it).

What determines if it is second-handed or not are the reasons behind wanting something.

And besides that, the response of other people to your work through their money or their awards (as long as you respect them as a sufficiently rational society) is a good measure of the quality and validity of your own work:

Other's response should not be a measure of the value of your work.

A mediocre Objectivist (in their chosen field and in life, generally) sounds like an oxymoron to me, unless I have totally misunderstood Rand’s philosophy.

If you mean mediocre qua his own potential than yes I would agree but Objectivism is a philosphy for everyone. If a person is living close to the height of his/her own potential - that is admirable - regardless of their level of ability, regardless of how he measures up in comparison to others.

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Part 2

I think it is this problem that largely accounts for the fact that most people value being called an Objectivist than they value being (called) a great achiever in their field. They are apparently more proud of that label than of an identity that emphasises their personal achievement in this world.

I do not know this to be true among any Objectivists I know, including myself. I am proud of all of the things I am and all of the things that I have achieved, which includes happiness.

I am proud of my career as a journalist and the influence I have and the difference that I make in my community as a newspaper editor. I am also proud that my daughter, despite her physical disabilities, is able to be happy and demonstrate heroism by proving disabilities are not an impediment to happiness. This has been largely because of how we have educated her and in our insistence that she have the most innovative and best technology at her disposal, and our insistence that nothing should unreasonably stand in her way.

I'm also proud of my children and of the fact that I actively stand for what I believe both as a journalist and outside of work, and that I am able to provide my family with a good life and with happiness without having to be evasive or dishonorable.

The fact that I am an Objectivist is just a part of all those things that make up the sum of what I am. I could have some other system of belief and still be a good person. But Objectivism is my chosen philosophy, and as such I am naturally as proud of that as I would expect a Christian or a Jew to be proud of his beliefs. If one is not proud of one's beliefs, perhaps he should seek out another.

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Objectivist Billionaires: Where are they?

I would have expected a number of noticeable full-fledged Objectivists among the annual rich lists of Forbes magazine, among the owners of big Fortune (Magazine) 500 companies, among the profiles on achievement.org, and so on; instead, full or serious Objectivists are conspicuously missing on such lists of achievers and innovators. None of the many professing Objectivists one meets on the various online forums (and there are many), apparently exhibiting great understanding of the philosophy, ever confess to being billionaires (or even just millionaires - in a country where an impressive percentage of the population has achieved this), Nobel prize laureates, breakthrough inventors, bestselling authors, Oscar-winning movie directors and actors, or even world class architects. To me, they generally seem to be struggling in the same pool of mediocrity typical of the very average person in any country. They seem to be just as lost for purpose as the guy next door.

This, more than anything else, is responsible for the failure of the “Objectivist movement” to create as much impact on the world as it should (I believe). It does not produce as much EVIDENCE of the power of a rational philosophy (on the world) as one would expect.

See my post above, but I would add that I certainly am not "struggling in the same pool of mediocrity typical of the very average person in any country."

I am quote proud of and love my work as a journalist (I am a newspaper editor) and the influence I have in my community, of my children, my wife and my family, of their values and of what I believe in, and that I live an honest and sincere life that I thoroughly enjoy.

I am certain that I am not the only Objectivist who is NOT lost for purpose. I demonstrate this on my job all the time, as well as in what I expect for and of my children, as well as my approach to raising a daughter who uses a wheelchair - all of which are far from the mainstream of mediocrity, mysticism and politically correct collectivism.

Finally, I am also quite certain that I am living a life of a far higher standard than the average person, and likely even the above-average person of most of the rest of the world's less-developed nations. I don't need to go into detail to describe the benefits I and my family have living in the richest state of the richest nation on Earth. That I am fortunate to live here, and do so as an Objectivist is a large part of what helps make my life happy.

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That maybe so but claiming such does not mean that that is the reason for wanting to achieve. Creating inspiration is/should be a secondary for anyone, including artists (and it was secondary for Rand - since you brought her up).

I do not believe I said it is the reason for achieving. And I do not believe I claimed it is a primary.

Other's response should not be a measure of the value of your work.

I do not agree with this.

If you believe you're a great singer and you decide to go on "American Idol" and all the judges say you suck, and every record company you take your work to in the world says "you better choose another career", doesn't that say anything about the value of your work? (or imagine if you believe you're a great stand-up comedian, but always gets only half-sure giggles from the audiences).

[Note that I said "as long as you respect them as a sufficiently rational society" so I'm not talking about a context in which a society has become totally or highly irrational, something I do not believe has happened in at least the freest societies of the world.]

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Someone who has not achieved (and is not realistically working towards achieving) something great that OTHERS can SEE (sight of an achievement) can not claim to have understood at least that particular Randian injunction.

First, injunction? Is that what you think it means to understand Objectivism? To think of it as a series of injunctions? I'm not just picking at your language here - from the rest of your statements, this is clearly the method you are in fact applying.

Furthermore, the worst part of your construct is your contempt for ideas. You seem to consider them to be disconnected playthings for immature children while the "real" people are out there doing things that the concrete-bound can understand and admire.

I guess gangster rappers with their fame and their bling bling are better in your view than anyone here. After all, OTHERS can SEE their achievements, and if you can't do that then they're totally worthless.

I therefore still think that there should realistically be a good number of very high and visible achievers among serious Objectivists (in their different respective fields) especially after being in those fields for a sufficiently long time.

This is pure rationalism. What jobs have you held? What positions and recognition have you achieved in them? How do you know that achievers must be recognized in today's societies? And furthermore, how do you know that everyone here who you condemn must have been in their chosen field for a sufficiently long time? How do you know, even, that everyone here is in their chosen field and not just working a 9-5 to pay the bills while they study, go to school, etc?

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I do not believe I said it is the reason for achieving. And I do not believe I claimed it is a primary.

You seem to be judging the value of achievement by it's impact on others (visibility, inspiration ect).

Sophia:

Other's response should not be a measure of the value of your work.

If you believe you're a great singer and you decide to go on "American Idol" and all the judges say you suck, and every record company you take your work to in the world says "you better choose another career", doesn't that say anything about the value of your work? (or imagine if you believe you're a great stand-up comedian, but always gets only half-sure giggles from the audiences).

If your goal is to make people laugh yet you are not able to do so - then you are not meeting your chosen objective. The value of your work is judged by how well you are meeting your goal.

The value of Rand's ideas is based on their adherence to reality (her goal was to identify truths about reality). The value of her writing is based on how well she was able to use it to illustrate her ideas.

The value of one's singing is based on how well it meets the objective standards of producing good sound as that is the goal of singing and your assessment of your skill should also be based on that.

Many successful artists have been told at one point in their past "you better choose another career". On the other hand, the fact that many people are buying particular artist's music today does not mean that he is good.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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You seem to be judging the value of achievement by it's impact on others (visibility, inspiration ect).

Indeed, but that's different from saying it's "the reason" why a person should decide to achieve.[and keep in mind at all times how I have described those "others" - as my working context].

If your goal is to make people laugh yet you are not able to do so - then you are not meeting your chosen objective. The value of your work is judged by how well you are meeting your goal.

From this statement,

1. a person whose goal is to make people laugh by simply exposing his nudity can be said to have "valuable work" as long as he is meeting his goal.("The value of your work is judged by how well you are meeting your goal").

2. It seems you believe this as confirmed by your next statement:

The value of Rand's ideas is based on their adherence to reality (her goal was to identify truths about reality).

In parentheses, you confirm that you believe Rand's ideas should be judged by their adherence to reality because this was her goal. So the value of Kant's ideas should also be judged by his own goal?

Many successful artists have been told at one point in their past "you better choose another career".

See how I put my example. Were these artists told this by every expert they went to in their field or were they told this by just one or two people? I would be surprised to find MANY successful singers, for example, who were told by everyone that they had a bad voice and they still made it (without adjusting that voice). If they are there, they are a very big exception. I think the vast majority of successful singers were highly applauded for their talent even as young children.

On the other hand, the fact that many people are buying particular artist's music today does not mean that he is good.

I don't get it. I thought you said his work is valuable as long as he is achieving his goal. So, what if his goal is to make people enjoy his music [as was the goal of the comedian was to make people laugh] and he is selling many records?

The value of one's singing is based on how well it meets the objective standards of producing good sound as that is the goal of singing and your assessment of your skill should also be based on that.

The value of one's singing. But it should be of value to whom? If you are just singing for the shower (to yourself) then that's one thing. But if you want to sing for a living, then your singing is not valuable IF other people are not impressed [keeping my stated context in mind].

Now, of course, if it is a good sound they will be impressed. The fact of the matter is that you do not always know the exact details of what makes a really good sound (theoretically) and when other people love it, it confirms to you that it is good indeed (like I said, that's why capitalism inspires individual innovation and productivity and socialism does not).

[And even if you DO know exactly what makes a really good sound (theoretically), this does not mean that you are always able to successfully express that physically (practically) - other people's response (your market) can confirm for you that you have indeed managed to integrate mind and body in this venture, and that should make you quite happy.]

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Indeed, but that's different from saying it's "the reason" why a person should decide to achieve.[and keep in mind at all times how I have described those "others" - as my working context].

The majority of 'others' hold very mixed premisses. The opinion of the mob is far from being an objective evaluation based on rational standard. We are far from having a rational majority.

In parentheses, you confirm that you believe Rand's ideas should be judged by their adherence to reality because this was her goal. So the value of Kant's ideas should also be judged by his own goal?

What it means to successfully reach a certain goal (what it means to produce a value) is not subjective. As a philosopher, and thus the same stardard applies to him as to Rand, he failed. Was his goal to produce destruction? - perhaps but I don't know that. Part of success is also chosing only rational goals.

I think the vast majority of successful singers were highly applauded for their talent even as young children.

Right, like Ms. Spears.

The value of one's singing. But it should be of value to whom?

To yourself because you find enjoyment from being able to do it so well. I have a question. Let's say you are a magnificent singer stuck on a deserted island. Is the value of your singing less, in your opinion, because nobody else can benefit from it?

But if you want to sing for a living, then your singing is not valuable IF other people are not impressed [keeping my stated context in mind].

If someone is objectively good but not recognized he should make a living doing something else and continue singing. I have never said that people can not prevent you from achieving your goal (in this example being able to make a living doing it) but they do not determine actual value of your work.

Money is a measure of how others value your work - it is not necessarily a true measure of how good you are or how valuableyour work is. (it could be but it may not be and often is not). Many famous people feel like fakes because they have gained recognition (and monetary success) from others which they know they don't deserve.

The fact of the matter is that you do not always know the exact details of what makes a really good sound (theoretically) and when other people love it, it confirms to you that it is good indeed (like I said, that's why capitalism inspires individual innovation and productivity and socialism does not).

What makes art good is objective.

Capitalism promotes innovation because, as a system, it allows the innovator to be properly financially rewarded for his work. Whether or not he actually will be is another thing. In contrast, socialism strips him from that possiblity all together right from the start.

other people's response (your market) can confirm for you that you have indeed managed to integrate mind and body in this venture, and that should make you quite happy.]

You mean the way Mr.Spears did? You mean the way everyone was impressed with Readen metal?

Edited by ~Sophia~

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The majority of 'others' hold very mixed premisses. The opinion of the mob is far from being an objective evaluation based on rational standard. We are far from having a rational majority.

Yes, but some countries are sufficiently developed to have someone like John Galt be admired enough to make his story a bestseller for decades. If John Galt can be that appreciated by the general society [according to some survey, his story was only second in popularity to the Bible], I'd say almost any rational achiever can be quite appreciated in at least that particular society.

Right, like Ms. Spears.

Right. Like Ms Spears and many other very great singers and even great classical musicians. Not MANY of them were ever told that they had no talent (at least not by most people, and even less likely, by many experts).

Let's say you are a magnificent singer stuck on a deserted island. Is the value of your singing less, in your opinion, because nobody else can benefit from it?

Yes it has less value (not necessarily no value) because I can not use it to make money for myself (by singing to others who would appreciate it and pay me).

What makes art good is objective.

I have not denied that. But this fact does not negate my point that you can use the response of other people to know that you are doing it right - practically right; that you are indeed proficient at it.

You mean the way Mr.Spears did? You mean the way everyone was impressed with Readen metal?

Ms Brittney Spears was/is not a bad singer. Her voice and music was quite good and yes, many people (especially young people) liked it and paid her for it. [This is not to say there are no bad artists who have a following from some irrational people, but I do not believe America is at a point where a rational or objectively good artist will have no following or even a less chance of success; otherwise you will have to explain to me the phenomenal success of Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead and why seven of Spillane's novels were among the top ten bestselling novels of all time IN AMERICA.]

However, in a fictional story where a society is presented as being extremely irrational - irrational enough to justify "shrugging" by rational people - one cannot expect to be appreciated for his rational achievement. That society is not America (or any relatively free society) by any stretch.

[Oh, and by the way, when I say Ms Spears achieved some "integration of mind and body", this is only with respect to her music (and she was indeed happy for that); it does not imply that she was integrated in every other area of her life (and that consequently affected her general happiness). We can still be inspired by her achievement in music even though she has not achieved as much in other personal areas, just as we can be inspired by the achievement of an athlete, even if he is not so developed in other personal areas, or even (more obviously) the similar achievement of a good artist.]

Edited by blackdiamond

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Yes, but some countries are sufficiently developed to have someone like John Galt be admired enough to make his story a bestseller for decades. If John Galt can be that appreciated by the general society [according to some survey, his story was only second in popularity to the Bible], I'd say almost any rational achiever can be quite appreciated in at least that particular society.

Not necessarily so. It is true that Americans have a rather positive sense of life and based on that they react positively to Rand's fiction but most are still not fully rational and lacking explicit understanding of relevant issues. Most do not live on principle and instead are pragmatists.

I will agree with you on one point. I think we still live in the world in which achievement of values and thus happiness is possible.

Right. Like Ms Spears and many other very great singers and even great classical musicians.

This was sacrasm on my part. Ms. Spears is not a good singer.

Not MANY of them were ever told that they had no talent

Many good people are told that every day in all spheres of life.

Yes it has less value (not necessarily no value) because I can not use it to make money for myself (by singing to others who would appreciate it and pay me).

You measure value by money then. I don't (not necessarily) and thus I don't agree. Rand's achievement would have been exactly the same even if she never made a dime from it (and Rand's goal was not to become rich - it was a secondary outcome (same way it was a secondary outcome for Roark)).

I have not denied that. But this fact does not negate my point that you can use the response of other people to know that you are doing it right - practically right; that you are indeed proficient at it.

If their judgment is based on objective standard, if they are rational - yes. Majority is not.

We can still be inspired by her achievement in music even though she has not achieved as much in other personal areas, just as we can be inspired by the achievement of an athlete, even if he is not so developed in other personal areas, or even (more obviously) the similar achievement of a good artist.

I don't find anything inspirational about Ms. Spears both when it comes to her professional and private life. She is one of the fakes but famous, I mentioned.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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I will agree with you on one point. I think we still live in the world in which achievement of values and thus happiness is possible.

Indeed.

This was sacrasm on my part. Ms. Spears is not a good singer.

I knew very well that it was sarcasm.

Many good people are told that every day in all spheres of life.

If they are always or usually told that "they have no talent in their particular sphere (singing, acting, comedy, etc)," especially by experienced people in those fields, they should consider very seriously that they may indeed not be as talented as they think (we can all make mistakes). Of course there are stories of exceptional cases, but those are just that: exceptional cases (which is why they make the cover of a magazine).

You measure value by money then. I don't (not necessarily) and thus I don't agree.

You asked if that talent in that context (on an island) has LESS value, and i said yes (because of a particular way it would now fail to serve MY LIFE, my survival - and you still think it is not any less valuable? Isn't your life your standard of value?). But I also emphasised that this does not necessarily mean it now has NO value, just less. So how could you possibly derive from that that i (only) measure value by money?

Rand's achievement would have been exactly the same even if she never made a dime from it

Hm. I'm not sure about that. She would be very unique as a novelist if she considered herself successful novelist even if no one bought a single novel of hers [Remember we are talking about America, a society that still appreciates heroes in art, and still by and large appreciates good writing skill and craft].

I don't find anything inspirational about Ms. Spears both when it comes to her professional and private life. She is one of the fakes but famous, I mentioned.

Well, you are certainly entitled to an opinion about the young lady. Perhaps you are not in the age group of her target market? Or you just don't like that genre of music too much? I certainly don't think she has a terrible voice, I think she's okay. Do you like the voice and songs of her former boyfriend, Mr. Justin Timberlake? (Same type of music).

Anyway, I'm sure I've made my point. I have not said you should achieve primarily because you want money or you want recognition, etc (so you'll do well by relenting on your attack on this position which I do not hold). But these rewards are inspiring to yourself because they give you some material feedback on your performance, NOT that they are the reason you do it. And your achievement inspires others because they can concretely see what's possible with themselves with very hard work. It's the greatest gift you can give to them, as it is the greatest gift you can give to yourself; there is no dichotomy.

Similarly, I think a person feels good (VERY good) when they meet a romantic partner who strongly admires them for their values. They do not pursue their values for the purpose of being admired by a potential partner. But they will certainly feel very happy - by way of feedback - when they do actually meet someone who expresses strong admiration for their values (besides other aspects), enough to want to spend the rest of their lives with them. I think that (rational) romantic love is a concrete measure of something you may only know spiritually (what you have achieved by way of values), just as money (or awards or promotions, etc) given to you by other people who value your work can be a similar concrete measure. [i am working on the assumption of a sufficiently rational society in both cases, a society in which there is a reasonably good probability of finding many such hero-loving people].

Edited by blackdiamond

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