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Is Objectivism a dogma?

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Before you read this, please understand that I'm playing 'devil's advocate' to try to understand the reality a little better than I do now.

Does adherance to one ideology imply cultism? The definition of cult is:

Main Entry: cult

Pronunciation: 'kult

Function: noun

1 : formal religious veneration : WORSHIP

2 : a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents

3 : a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents

4 : a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator <health cults>

5 a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion

Now, with the definition presented I have to set a couple things clear (from my perspective). A RELIGION is a principle or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith. Faith is described by Leonard Peikoff like this.

"Faith" designates blind acceptance of a certain idealational content, acceptance induced by feeling in the absence of evidence or proof." Leonard Peikoff, OP, 48; pb 54

I personally subscribe to that idea and I feel that most objectivists do, it's rational, and makes reality clearer for anyone who would subscribe it. So if Religion is based on faith we can agree (as objectivists) that Religion is bad. So if religion is bad then following an ideology that rejects religion in itself should not be a BAD concept (in the eyes of an objectivist). But that ideolgoy right there brings me to definition number 4 in the above definition of "Cult". From what I've read of Ayn Rand and Dr. Piekoff, the view of mysticism and religion is that it is a disease that has plagued human kind for centuries, a disease of the mind. And in essence, Ayn Rand is the promulgator and the disease that she is curing is the disease of mysticism.

In fear that I may be playing semantics with myself and you, the reader, I must look toward the ideology of Objectivism a little more. If the philosophy you subscribe to states that an individual must use reality around them to progress, be productive, and become personally successful, and everyone who does this properly becomes successful, happy, and extremely prosperous in this life, it would seem that objectivism is infallible in this existance by simple fact that it works. It works because when you see things for what they are and simply acknowledge them and don't act on whims, everything that you do produces value for yourself and the people around you because you are being productive and positive. You are only being productive and positive because you are reaping the cycle of benefits that this philosophy has brought you.

If this philosophy really is a revolution into a new evolution of man then everyone would have to subscribe to it eventually in order for it to work properly, to cure the disease of man. That right there, when you conceptualize what objectivism is, it is in itself a "Cult" and cultism is what would be needed for the application to affect society. It would need adherants.

These statements and questions were triggered by a close friend of mine whos opinions I value. He believes that free choice is the essence of human beings and believes that objectivism is in itself a dangerous concept because of it's necessary acceptance of a doctrine in order for it to properly work. Given, he was just playing devils advocate in one of our conversations, he feels that objectivism is a powerful tool just as much as I do and values it's message; but like me, I have to be objective with my reality and question it.

What do you think of this? The opinions of this message board are highly regarded to me because I see a strong intellectual basis in this board. Please rip this apart.

~Michael

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Is there any actual difference between a 'cult' and a 'group of people with similar strongly held beliefs', othar than that the first term implies derision on the part of the speaker?

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So if religion is bad then following an ideology that rejects religion in itself should not be a BAD concept (in the eyes of an objectivist). 

That is an invalid conclusion. There are many philosophies that reject religion that are just as bad, or even worse, than the religion itself.

If this philosophy [Objectivism]really is a revolution into a new evolution of man then everyone would have to subscribe to it eventually in order for it to work properly, to cure the disease of man. That right there, when you conceptualize what objectivism is, it is in itself a "Cult" and cultism is what would be needed for the application to affect society.  It would need adherants.

I do not know what is meant by a "new evolution of man," but Objectivism is a philosophy that teaches man to live as man. I also do not know why you think "everyone would have to subscribe" to Objectivism in order for it to work; Objectivism works for me, and to effect a major change in a society takes ideas in the minds of the few capable of influencing society on an intellecual and cultural level.

What do you think of this?  The opinions of this message board are highly regarded to me because I see a strong intellectual basis in this board.  Please rip this apart.

My advice to you is to worry less about the concerns of your friends and instead spend more time learning the philosophy itself. I think you would greatly benefit from reading Peikoff's OPAR from cover to cover, and then at least you will have garnered a broad-enough perspective to "rip this apart" yourself, if you cared to.

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But that ideolgoy right there brings me to definition number 4 in the above definition of "Cult".  From what I've read of Ayn Rand and Dr. Piekoff, the view of mysticism and religion is that it is a disease that has plagued human kind for centuries, a disease of the mind.  And in essence, Ayn Rand is the promulgator and the disease that she is curing is the disease of mysticism.

That definition reads, "a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator." Ayn Rand did not set forth dogma. She gave arguments for her views.

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Mr. Speicher,

Perhaps I was very lofty in some of my description and that is what I'm trying to avoid and I thank you for pointing out the flaws.

As for me, I have just discovered Objectivism (well the direct philosophy) a little less than a month ago and it has consumed me in so many ways and I'm seeing major life changes in a very short period of time. My previous mystic upbringing tells me to be skeptical of these rapid changes but my objective thought compels me to continue discovering at an even faster pace.

I think once I finish reading all the material I have selected, I will have a firmer grasp on objectivism, but in the meantime my eagerness probably shows too much.

I've read many topics here and you seem to be a very rational human being and you deffinately have my respect sir.

And to Daniel...I find much validity in your statement, but isn't a compilation of ideas a 'dogma'? And the books I've been reading ("The Virtue of Selfishness") seems like an organized way to present objectivism and moral values.

~Michael

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..but isn't a compilation of ideas a 'dogma'?

A compilation of ideas backed only by "believe it because I said it's true" differs fundamentally from a philosophy where every principle is backed by the facts that gave rise to them.

I think you see this difference quite clearly, Michael. I suggest to you that your newfound excitement in discovering Objectivism is in large part due to finding ideas that are not part of a dogma.

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He believes that free choice is the essence of human beings and believes that objectivism is in itself a dangerous concept because of it's necessary acceptance of a doctrine in order for it to properly work.  Given, he was just playing devils advocate in one of our conversations, he feels that objectivism is a powerful tool just as much as I do and values it's message; but like me, I have to be objective with my reality and question it.

Couple things to think about:

1. Man has free will, but that does not exempt him from the need to be rational and objective. Without some kind of system for guiding his life, he would be lost.

Not all doctrines are religious or irrational. Objectivism is not a doctrine based on faith or mysticism. It is based on reality. If, after studying the philosophy, you agree, then it would not be irrational for you to follow this doctrine, because you will be acting in accord with reality.

2. There are many tools. Some are used for inflicting pain, some for promoting life. Religion is a tool--an instrument of death.

I like to think of Objectivism as not merely a tool, but a factory--a factory of life.

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Mr. Speicher,

Perhaps I was very lofty in some of my description and that is what I'm trying to avoid and I thank you for pointing out the flaws.

As for me, I have just discovered Objectivism (well the direct philosophy) a little less than a month ago and it has consumed me in so many ways and I'm seeing major life changes in a very short period of time.  My previous mystic upbringing tells me to be skeptical of these rapid changes but my objective thought compels me to continue discovering at an even faster pace.

I think once I finish reading all the material I have selected, I will have a firmer grasp on objectivism, but in the meantime my eagerness probably shows too much.

Not at all. I would encourage your eagerness to continue showing itself, and do not hesitate in asking any questions. I do not know just how old you are -- I have the sense that you are young -- but whatever the number of years you have lived with the ideas that you have had, the process of learning new ideas and ferreting out the old takes a lot of time.

May I ask about which Objectivist material you have selected to learn from? Different people have differing approaches; some start with the fiction and they gain a strong sense of life feeling towards Objectivism, and then pursue the nonfiction works depending upon their interests. Other just delve directly into the philosophical writings. I could be wrong but I get the idea (based on what you have written) that you would really benefit from a systematic presentation of the philosophy, and for that I would strongly recommend Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. It is available in paperback at many bookstores, and can also be ordered from virtually all online sources.

I've read many topics here and you seem to be a very rational human being and you deffinately have my respect sir.

Thank you. Note that, except for Ayn Rand, to varying degrees we were all in a similar intellectual position that you find yourself in now, and I hope that for you, as it certainly was (and is) for me, discovering the philosophical ideas of Objectivism and integrating them into your life will be an exciting and extremely rewarding process.

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Not at all. I would encourage your eagerness to continue showing itself, and do not hesitate in asking any questions. I do not know just how old you are -- I have the sense that you are young -- but whatever the number of years you have lived with the ideas that you have had, the process of learning new ideas and ferreting out the old takes a lot of time.

May I ask about which Objectivist material you have selected to learn from? Different people have differing approaches; some start with the fiction and they gain a strong sense of life feeling towards Objectivism, and then pursue the nonfiction works depending upon their interests. Other just delve directly into the philosophical writings. I could be wrong but I get the idea (based on what you have written) that you would really benefit from a systematic presentation of the philosophy, and for that I would strongly recommend Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. It is available in paperback at many bookstores, and can also be ordered from virtually all online sources.

Thank you. Note that, except for Ayn Rand, to varying degrees we were all in a similar intellectual position that you find yourself in now, and I hope that for you, as it certainly was (and is) for me, discovering the philosophical ideas of Objectivism and integrating them into your life will be an exciting and extremely rewarding process.

I'm 23 years old and I (at this junction in life) prefer to read non-fiction to learn. I also try to write out my concepts in form of non-fiction as much as possible to work them out.

What introduced me to Objectivism was the book: "GodMan: Our final evolution" which is written by Dr. Wallace (see previous post HERE) At my current pace of learning, I've seen through the Mystic approach of presenting the removal of mysticism and it has brought me to objectivism (which is the foundation of what Dr. Wallace bases his philosophy on).

I went out to the used book store in my area and I bought, "Ayn Rand for the New Intellectual", "The Virtue of Selfishness", and the "Ayn Rand Lexicon". They didn't have the title you speak of although that was the first one that I did want to read. I plan on getting that book later this week. "Atlas Shrugged" looked very intimidating with it's 1200 pages of very very small print so I decided against Ayn Rands fiction for the time being, but as I progress I'm sure I'll find myself yearning to read it.

Also, to the others who have responded, I thank you for adding your views. I did say in the beginning that I was playing devils advocate to rip this apart for me. It did, the actual process of writing that all down internalized objectivism a bit more for me and I now understand the answer to this question.

What I would like to touch base on is the point that Colonal Rebel made. The negative connotation of the word 'Cult' to me has come from my mystic (christian) upbringing and has always carried down a negative image. As I'm removing my mystic constructs I'm seeing that words that were placed in the 'negative' bin while growing up in the church were put there to instill fear into the followers of the faith.

Thank you all for your comments!

~Michael

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What introduced me to Objectivism was the book: "GodMan: Our final evolution" which is written by Dr. Wallace (see previous post HERE)  At my current pace of learning, I've seen through the Mystic approach of presenting the removal of mysticism and it has brought me to objectivism (which is the foundation of what Dr. Wallace bases his philosophy on).

Well, now that you are here, I would suggest that you burn his book and purge your mind of whatever of his hideous nonsense has permeated your brain. Wallace is the founder of a bizarre cult that appropriated a few Objectivist terms in an attempt to lend credence to what otherwise borders on the insane. Seriously, I am not over-dramatizing this. Start fresh with unadulterated Objectivism rather than cloud your mind with Wallace's bizarre perspectives.

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Objectivists believe in an absolute objective reality, but sometimes objectivists try to define what that reality is. For example, we all accept that gravity exists and is real. 186,000 miles a second, it's not just a good idea - it's the law!

Suppose however there is a common opinion held by objecivists that turns out to be wrong, how do you fix it. For example, we know that objective reality exists. I think that one is safe for now. But what about "rational selfishness"? That's a separate subject. And it's something that is, in my opinion, open for question.

But - before I question it, what I want to know is, is this a subject beyond question? Is one required to accept this concept on blind faith or is this something that can be rationally discussed? And - second question - if this or any other concepts of objectivism turn out to be wrong then what happens? Do you abandoned the wrong concept and replace it with reality - or do you loyally hang on to the mistake.

I would assume that you don't believe that you are infallible so therefor it is natural that you are wrong sometimes. So what is the process of dealing with error?

(Fixed typo - softwareNerd)

Edited by softwareNerd

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Objectivists don't believe, they know. Objectivist positions aren't determined by a popularity contest between Objectivists. Mperkel, reality exists apart from the whims of man, and man has the capacity to come to know reality. That reality exists and that we exist with the capacity to see it is the basis for all knowledge, including the philosophy of Objectivism. Objectivists don't accept Objectivism as a belief system, they accept it because they've personally validated it for themselves as an integrated system of truth.

I'll grant you that there are people who call themselves Objectivists but actually only know the "answers" to the "questions," and when asked for an explanation, they try to "force" the "answers" onto reality, i.e. they try to rationalize, starting first with the answers provided by Ayn Rand (or those they think she provided). In this sense it may seem to you that Objectivists try to define what reality is (completely oblivious to what it actually is or seems to be), but it's only because they never understood for themselves the process by which Ayn Rand reached these answers.

If you want to understand Objectivism, ask a question about a particular view and try to understand the premises and process by which the particular view was arrived at. Only then will you dislodge yourself from the idea that Objectivism is just another dogma, if that indeed is your view.

PS

"Objectivism" is a proper noun, please spell it with an uppercase "O".

[Clarified a sentence - FS]

Edited by Felipe

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Is one required to accept this concept on blind faith

Absolutely not. Objectivist Epistemology rejects all forms of faith and therefore no concept or idea is accepted on faith.

As for the rest of your questions, I suggest reading the chapters in OPAR on Epistemology, especially under "Knowledge is contextual."

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Objectivists don't believe, they know.  

OK - this is what I have a problem with. I "know" objective reality exists. I think we are on the same page there. But there is a difference between some thing that some people think is objective reality and what really is.

I'm trying to separate objective reality here from the process of determining what is objective.

For example - 200 years ago everyone "knew" that time was a universal constant and that all good clocks would agree on what time it was. But then came Einstein and he discovered that time was relative. An honest mistake. People who believed that time was constant were wrong. Eventually when Einstein was proved to be correct everyone accepted the change.

I think it's safe to say that since Ayn Rand claims that no one has supernatural powers that she herself is not infallible. You can see the paradox if people were to claim she couldn't possibly make a mistake.

So - real people occasionally make mistakes. The reason electrons flow from - to + is because Edison took a guess and he guessed wrong. Objective reality didn't change. But the observer of reality realized that an error was made.

Just because someone believes in objective reality don't mean they know what's real and what isn't. So since people make mistakes, how do Objectivists deal with it when they make a mistake?

My question is, if Ayn Rand were to be proved wrong on some point - would you believe Ayn Rand or reality?

(Corrected spelling of "Ayn Rand" - softwareNerd)

Edited by softwareNerd

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My question is, if Ayn Rand were to be proved wrong on some point - would you believe Ayn Rand or reality?

Reality.

As to your other question, like I said: that precise question is handled by the section I indicated.

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.. if Ayn Rand were to be proved wrong on some point - would you believe Ayn Rand or reality?
Ayn Rand's advice was...

...it is reality that serves as men's ultimate arbiter...
And, again...
"Consider the reasons which make us certain that we are right," said Hugh Akston, "but not the fact that we are certain. If you are not convinced, ignore our certainty. Don't be tempted to substitute our judgment for your own."

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I would assume that you don't believe that you are infallible so therefor it is natural that you are wrong sometimes. So what is the process of dealing with error?

Your own punctuation and spelling errors are evidence of fallibility.

As an Objectivist, I correct errors as I discover them. First, I would re-examine inferences drawn from the idea now known to have been erroneous. I would also examine again the roots of the error. Perhaps an earlier error caused a later one.

Now that that is settled, let's get to the important point. Have you found any error in Ayn Rand's philosophy? If so, what is it?

To help set the context, please describe your own philosophy.

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Have you found any error in Ayn Rand's philosophy? If so, what is it? 

 

To help set the context, please describe your own philosophy. 

 

Yes - I'm not buying the "Virtue of Selfishness" and the dissing of altruism stuff. Yes I can see how someone can infer a selfish motive to everything but putting down altruism as if it were something evil - that's as ridiculous as being a moonie. I'm somewhat in shock that people who claim a relationship with reality would assert such a thing.

On the surface when I read her work it looks to me like she's dealing with some strange personal issue in her life that isn't relevant to a lot of the real world. It's much like my views an marriage. Things happened to me that gave me attitude but it's mostly about me and my experience.

OK - just for grins so we don't get distracted I will concede that I'll never win the argument that selfish motives can be construed for everything, although I don't admit that is an accurate picture of reality.

But - selflessness is a good thing and it is in fact why the human race evolved above the animals. Our very survival depends on selflessness.

In reality the human race is more like a hive of bees that nomadic individuals. We are totally interdependent in an amazing and complex society. If you look around you right now you can't help but to notice that everything you see what built by other people. In fact each object involves thousands of other people without whom there would be none of all this.

The human race has evolved a collection of information that we hold in common. We are able to learn things and communicate that to other people. Ann Rand's work is part of that collection of knowledge. Everything, how to make plastic, metal, cars, planes, cell phones, roads, grow food, all of it - comes from other people. When we thing in words we are using the words that other people invented. Our thought, our life, who we are and what we believe in are 99.99% not our own. It's hand me down information from the "hive mind".

So selflessness at least has some selfish advantages. I think that perhaps being selfless is the most selfish thing you can do because it builds the society that you live an and count on for your very survival.

So if you praise selfishness and you distain selflessness, but being selfless is a selfish act, then you are contradicting yourself?

I hope you objectivists can take some criticism without taking it personally. As a Realist practicing Realism I'm committed to giving and accepting scrutiny.

The way I see it - Objectivism is an endorsement of reality. Real reality the way it really is. But beyond that all I see is opinion. I see nothing special about capitalism. It has some advantages and drawbacks. It has never been done without a heavy mix of Socialism, nor could it work without it.

I also wonder if it's mission creep as well. Objectivism stands on it's own. Objective reality exists. The other stuff needs it's own title because it seems to me to at least be unrelated to Objectivism. In fact I would call it personal reality because it's about Ann Rand's world. It reminds me of L. Ron Hubbard's battle with Psychology that still rages on long after his death.

So - what does the opinion that altruism is evil have to do with Objectivism? Especially when it's so blatantly wrong?

(hope you all aren't thin skinned when it comes to arguing)

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On the surface when I read her work it looks to me like she's dealing with some strange personal issue in her life that isn't relevant to a lot of the real world. It's much like my views an marriage. Things

What does someones motive have to do with the actual content of their argument? Second, how do you know Ayn Rand's motives?

OK - just for grins so we don't get distracted I will concede that I'll never win the argument that selfish motives can be construed for everything, although I don't admit that is an accurate picture of reality. 
If you can't win the argument, why would you start it, and defend the losing side?

But - selflessness is a good thing and it is in fact why the human race evolved above the animals. Our very survival depends on selflessness. 

 

In reality the human race is more like a hive of bees that nomadic individuals. We are totally interdependent in an amazing and complex society. If you look around you right now you can't help but to notice that everything you see what built by other people. In fact each object involves thousands of other people without whom there would be none of all this. 

No one said that you cannot help someone else, that selfishness means utter independence in the Robinson Crusoe sense.

So selflessness at least has some selfish advantages. I think that perhaps being selfless is the most selfish thing you can do because it builds the society that you live an and count on for your very survival. 

 

So if you praise selfishness and you distain selflessness, but being selfless is a selfish act, then you are contradicting yourself?

This is where you stopped speaking and instead just started in a non-sensical, circular rant that didn't make much sense. So you say it is selfish to be selfless? If being selfish is the equivalent of being selfless, then they must be one and the same in your mind, which begs the question, why would you hate selfishness if it is the same as selflessness? Maybe you just don't like human action in general.

I hope you objectivists can take some criticism without taking it personally. As a Realist practicing Realism I'm committed to giving and accepting scrutiny.

I am not offended by you. But your ignorance to what goes on in the real world is somewhat outrageous when coming from a so-called "realist." I blame religous and public propaganda. Also you should know that when you attack someone's beliefs, you are attacking their person.

The way I see it - Objectivism is an endorsement of reality. Real reality the way it really is. But beyond that all I see is opinion. I see nothing special about capitalism. It has some advantages and drawbacks. It has never been done without a heavy mix of Socialism, nor could it work without it. 

I like how you make assumptions based on nothing, and offer no argument what so ever. Socialism is not equivalent to any ideal of selflessness or selfishness, and the ideas you said you believed in, actually require you to be a capitalist. You are right people share knowledge, and thus we acheive things collectively that none of us could have done individually. That is why Capitalism is necessary. When people are free to exchange ideas we can acheive goals collectively. When some central planning unit coordinates production, then we lose out on all the knowledge that the people who aren't part of that government could have added to increase the productiveness of the economy. Read some econ text like Hayek, Mises, Adam Smith, heck even Keynes believed that capitalism was the only way for progress to be made. The only economist that isn't in some way a capitalist that I can think of is Marx, and he wasn't much of an economist, he was more of a social philosopher.

Edit to correct the word there to their.

Edited by nimble

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One last question Mperkel. If selfishness in practice is so "obviously wrong" why would you never be able to win the argument that selfish motives underly moral action?

Note: At this point, I'm not even saying you are right or wrong, I am simply asking you why you would dismiss and discredit something so "obviously wrong" and not be able to even attempt to find some evidence to support your claim, and thus make an argument.

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What is it about the selfish advantage of living in a society that necessitates altruism? What about that concept at all required selflessness to create? Why are you equating the two things when they clearly have nothing to do with each other?

It seems that your entire agrument rests on that invalid point, so there's no point in me responding to any other part of it.

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I'd like to take this opportunity to clarify in more detail some of your questions and fallacious statements.

Suppose however there is a common opinion held by objecivists that turns out to be wrong, how do you fix it.

Objectivism is defined as the philosophy of Ayn Rand. If a person finds a problem with this philosophy, he or she stops labeling himself or herself an "Objectivist."

For example, we know that objective reality exists. I think that one is safe for now. But what about "rational selfishness"? That's a separate subject. And it's something that is, in my opinion, open for question.

The argument for "rational selfishness" is complex and is based upon morality. I suggest that you read some of Ayn Rand's works--she upholds, supports, and defends this principle flawlessly.

And - second question - if this or any other concepts of objectivism turn out to be wrong then what happens? Do you abandoned the wrong concept and replace it with reality - or do you loyally hang on to the mistake.

Again, the individual replaces this concept with reality in his or her own mind and is no longer to be considered an Objectivist.

For example - 200 years ago everyone "knew" that time was a universal constant and that all good clocks would agree on what time it was. But then came Einstein and he discovered that time was relative. An honest mistake. People who believed that time was constant were wrong. Eventually when Einstein was proved to be correct everyone accepted the change.

There is a big difference between pure science and philosophy. Pure science is the study of nature and is based upon a system of observation, hypothesis, experiment, etc. Philosophy works differently from this. It deals with more abstract concepts that are applied differently. Even so, if something did come along (which cannot happen due to the nature of philosophy), I'm sure that rational-minded individuals would accept the change and modify their philosophies.

But - selflessness is a good thing and it is in fact why the human race evolved above the animals. Our very survival depends on selflessness.

Objectivism holds the opposite to be true. It would be worthwile, again, to consult the writings of Ayn Rand or to ask questions like this more specifically. I can tell you that your survival depends on you--that is common sense and applies for every individual. The human race evolved above the animals because of the human mind and selfishness, not because of selflessness. Evolution does not occur in selfless societies--that is why there is no such thing anywhere in nature. (Even in a bee hive, the old saying "nature is cruel" applies.)

In reality the human race is more like a hive of bees that nomadic individuals. We are totally interdependent in an amazing and complex society. If you look around you right now you can't help but to notice that everything you see what built by other people. In fact each object involves thousands of other people without whom there would be none of all this.

The human race is a race of individuals with independent minds. We do create a complex society by working together, preferably in a free system (capitalism), and using our minds. This is why our society is not incredibly simple and uniform--like that of bees and ants.

Our thought, our life, who we are and what we believe in are 99.99% not our own. It's hand me down information from the "hive mind".

There is no "hive mind." We have individual minds.

I hope you objectivists can take some criticism without taking it personally.

Some can, some can't. There are rotten apples in every barrel. Personally, I can take criticism without taking it personally.

The way I see it - Objectivism is an endorsement of reality. Real reality the way it really is. But beyond that all I see is opinion. I see nothing special about capitalism. It has some advantages and drawbacks. It has never been done without a heavy mix of Socialism, nor could it work without it.

Capitalism is not an "opinion"--Objectivists hold it to be the only moral system in which men can live together. Capitalism specifically is economic freedom. There is no exploitation--if one party trading with another was exploited, it wouldn't trade! And that is what it is--a complex system of trading parties. They trade for mutual benefit. Don't you believe in religious freedom? Seperation from church and state? Then why not economic freedom--seperation from economy and state?

So - what does the opinion that altruism is evil have to do with Objectivism? Especially when it's so blatantly wrong?

I don't think Rand ever said anything like "altruism is evil." She stated that one should live to achieve one's own ends--i.e. one's own happiness. One should not sacrifice himself or herself for others. Altruism is only evil when it is forced (i.e. by the state, which is the opposite of freedom) or done irrationally (i.e. if I jump in front of a bus to keep it from hitting a retarded dog--that is a more extreme example). In fact, Objectivists tend to be somewhat altruistic in the way that they feel is most valuable and helpful--they try to help others help themselves, use their minds, and find happiness. I recently read that happy people naturally try to spread their happiness--and that is particularly true of Objectivists.

EDIT: Fixed a spelling mistake -- author

Edited by valjean

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There is a big difference between pure science and philosophy. Pure science is the study of nature and is based upon a system of observation, hypothesis, experiment, etc. Philosophy works differently from this. It deals with more abstract concepts that are applied differently. Even so, if something did come along (which cannot happen due to the nature of philosophy), I'm sure that rational-minded individuals would accept the change and modify their philosophies.

If pure science means "science not based on philosophy," then "pure science" is fallacious. It is not mere coincidence that science followed from philosophy historically (and why we have PhDs and not something else)--that reality exists apart from our consciousness and that we have consciousness with the ability to know reality is metaphysics, is philosophy, is the basis for science; there is no such thing as "pure science" as apart from philosophy.

Furthermore, science will never make a discovery that forces us to adjust proper metaphysics, to adjust proper philosophy--science follows from philosophy. Note the insanity of deriving a metaphysics (and thus a philosophy) based on Quantum Mechanics, for example. In the search for truth, "pure science" in this case leads us to conclude that there is no single truth--things can both exist and not exist, things can be here and there simultaneously, things can be both wave and particle, things exist only when we look for them, etc., conclusions which in essence say: "the truth is that there is no single truth," evading the necessary contradiction of making such a statement.

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Our thought, our life, who we are and what we believe in are 99.99% not our own. It's hand me down information from the "hive mind".

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So if you praise selfishness and you distain selflessness, but being selfless is a selfish act, then you are contradicting yourself?

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I see nothing special about capitalism.

What I get from the "hive mind" is a huge mass of contradictory statements which largely cancel each other out. I have to use my mind to sort thru it and discard those claims which are: meaningless, arbitrary, internally inconsistent, inconsistent with my experience of reality, etc.. At best, what I get from others can suggest paths which I can try to follow in my thinking, if the facts support it.

YOU are contradicting yourself by justifying selflessness as selfish.

Capitalism is the only system which does neither requires nor allows people to hurt each other. By prohibiting (net) destruction, capitalism becomes the most creative system.

I don't think Rand ever said anything like "Altruism is evil.".

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One should not sacrifice himself or herself for others.

The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is SELF-SACRIFICE -- which means:  self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction -- which means:  the SELF as a standard of evil, the SELFLESS as a standard of the good.

I will say it -- ALTRUISM IS EVIL!!!!

You should never do anything which you believe is contrary to your interest, that is, your life.

Furthermore, science will never make a discovery that forces us to adjust proper metaphysics, to adjust proper philosophy--science follows from philosophy. Note the insanity of deriving a metaphysics (and thus a philosophy) based on Quantum Mechanics, for example.

Yes, IF indeed the metaphysics is PROPER.

But people can make mistakes. For example, one could formulate the law of Causality incorrectly by ASSUMING WITHOUT PROOF that the world is deterministic.

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