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Nathaniel Branden

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I'm just curious about what posters here thought about Nathaniel Branden's arguments about the pros and cons of Ayn Rand's philosophy from the perspective of psychology, if you haven't already read it: http://www.nathanielbranden.com/catalog/ar...nd_hazards.html

This isn't a challenge or anything, I'm genuinely interested. I was also thinking of ordering his books on the psychology of self esteem and wondered if they were any good (I'm going to read his memoirs anyway regardless). His writing style is a lot easier to read now than it was in the 60's.

Edited by Melchior

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I'm just curious about what posters here thought about Nathaniel Branden's arguments about the pros and cons of Ayn Rand's philosophy from the perspective of psychology, if you haven't already read it: http://www.nathanielbranden.com/catalog/ar...nd_hazards.html

This isn't a challenge or anything, I'm genuinely interested. I was also thinking of ordering his books on the psychology of self esteem and wondered if they were any good (I'm going to read his memoirs anyway regardless). His writing style is a lot easier to read now than it was in the 60's.

One thing I've noticed is that he does not present anything new as alternatives to her philosophy. I don't doubt that he has a point to make, but he simply doesn't make that point. The only positive things he has to say are that "she was right sometimes", and where he says she wasn't, he doesn't offer a tangible alternative. He is following one of the follies of being too critical, and that is to attempt to lead away rather than to lead towards.

Ayn Rand was a leader type, as well as a philosopher type, and so it was necessary for her to not only lead you in the right direction, but to convince you that it was good for you so that you are not being led blindly. Nathaniel Branden, on the other hand, takes a more passive role, that of the watch dog, and not of serious opposition. So with Ayn Rand, you know what you stand for, and with Nathaniel Branden, you do not.

This is why his works shouldn't be taken as seriously as Ayn Rand's. There may be merit in reading them, but helping develop a fully comprehensible philosophy of your own is not one of them.

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It seems to me from reading the article that, aside from praising emotions, he didn't really reject anything so much as criticized a lack of means for people to improve themselves (according to Objectivists standards). Which is a normal critique coming from a psychologist. He believes Ayn Rand properly defined virtue but did not provide or allow for a guide for people to get there.

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One thing I've noticed is that he does not present anything new as alternatives to her philosophy. I don't doubt that he has a point to make, but he simply doesn't make that point. The only positive things he has to say are that "she was right sometimes", and where he says she wasn't, he doesn't offer a tangible alternative. He is following one of the follies of being too critical, and that is to attempt to lead away rather than to lead towards.

Ayn Rand was a leader type, as well as a philosopher type, and so it was necessary for her to not only lead you in the right direction, but to convince you that it was good for you so that you are not being led blindly. Nathaniel Branden, on the other hand, takes a more passive role, that of the watch dog, and not of serious opposition. So with Ayn Rand, you know what you stand for, and with Nathaniel Branden, you do not.

This is why his works shouldn't be taken as seriously as Ayn Rand's. There may be merit in reading them, but helping develop a fully comprehensible philosophy of your own is not one of them.

Actually, Branden's work is quite good - and I am referring to his pyschology books, for example "The Six Pillars of Self Esteem" specifically. Nothing I read in that book did I find contrary to Objectivism in any manner. I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater, he does actually have some really good things to offer in terms of pyschology/self esteem etc.

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And I'm much more comfortable reading a self-help book where the author is closer to my worldview. It might not seem important but it makes a difference, however hard to explain.

Some of the materials I've come across are even religious in nature, which makes me uncomfortable.

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And I'm much more comfortable reading a self-help book where the author is closer to my worldview. It might not seem important but it makes a difference, however hard to explain.

Some of the materials I've come across are even religious in nature, which makes me uncomfortable.

I agree with 100% on that. I just dropped off my copy of the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" at Halfprice books about 10 days ago. I first read it when I was in religion - was a great book for me THEN - and tried re-reading it about a year or two ago. I just couldn't get into it because, well, while it still has some merits for me, really didn't offer anything I could use based on what I have learned through studying Objectivism.

I am not overally concerned with what happened between the Brandens and Ayn Rand any more - but of course when I read his book, I did look for "red flags" that maybe wouldn't jive with what I have learned so far, and there were none. But even if there were, I think I am comfortable enough to sort out what is reasonable and what isn't.

So I suggest if you are curious - just pick up one of his books and read it. Judge for yourself.

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I found his book "The Art of Living Consciously" to be very helpful, especially the sentence completion exercises. I've heard good things about his first book "The Psychology of Self-Esteem" but I haven't read it personally.

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What a blowhard Branden is:

1) Rnad's distrust of the new is probably well justified. Even if you don't know the ins and outs. we're all eqpuipped with BS dectectors. In philosphy, it's called "conatural" and means "goes with being a grownup" e.t. "If it sounds too good to be true; it is". When I hear the crap that hss come down in psychology, mostly about stress and self-esteem since the Revisionism of 1978 I understand her point. When I see the way things in medidcine change every 5 years, I'm tempted to say, "Hey, come back when you get it right. If you ever do!" For how many years was Pluto a planet? Now a bunch of Eruo-Weenies get together in 2006 and change the street signs again. Short Attention Span is endemic.

2) The "theory of Evolution" is in fact a hypothesis. As of 1974 it was stlll being discussed as a non-settled issue. Petr Beckmann rejecited what is commonly called "the theory of Evolution" in the latge 1980's. The reason is that "The Theory of Evolution" is taken to mean Darwin's theory. The real kicker here is that in 1975 or 6, Rand wrote in her letter titled The Missing Link that she had a hypothesis that the "range of the moment menality" is the "missing Lin". It also appears in either PHILOSPHY, WHO NEEDS IT or THE NEW LEFT: THE ANITI INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. Now the rest of the stary; from SCIENCE DIGEST 1983 in an article titled "Was Early Man Schizophrenic", a Dr.Jaynes located the defining characteristic of man in the rational faculty. I hope I don't have to explain the connectin to "The Missing Link".

3) Given the understanding of hypnosis, especially before 1950 and how it is portraayed, one could hardly blame Rand for not buying it. Granted she was wrong but hindsight is better than foresight by a damnsight.

4) We are supposed to take ESP and that kind of stuff seriously? Nathaniel? What's next alien abductions? Majestic 12? shadow people? fairies, elves, demons and "nature people? Why don't you just fill in for George Norry on Coast to Coast? You'll fit right in. It's been a fact for some times that the "scientist" is easily fooled and ends up falling for what a conjuror like the Great (James) Randi refutes in 3 minutes flat. e.g. Uri Geller: He had everybody buffaloed until Randi showed that he could do all those trick on demand.

5) Science is by nature conservative. We don't rush headlong into accepting novel ideas. Remember cold fusion? We've been knoked ass over tea kettle too many times.

Any more Hazards?

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What a blowhard Branden is:

1) Rnad's distrust of the new is probably well justified. Even if you don't know the ins and outs. we're all eqpuipped with BS dectectors. In philosphy, it's called "conatural" and means "goes with being a grownup" e.t. "If it sounds too good to be true; it is". When I hear the crap that hss come down in psychology, mostly about stress and self-esteem since the Revisionism of 1978 I understand her point. When I see the way things in medidcine change every 5 years, I'm tempted to say, "Hey, come back when you get it right. If you ever do!" For how many years was Pluto a planet? Now a bunch of Eruo-Weenies get together in 2006 and change the street signs again. Short Attention Span is endemic.

2) The "theory of Evolution" is in fact a hypothesis. As of 1974 it was stlll being discussed as a non-settled issue. Petr Beckmann rejecited what is commonly called "the theory of Evolution" in the latge 1980's. The reason is that "The Theory of Evolution" is taken to mean Darwin's theory. The real kicker here is that in 1975 or 6, Rand wrote in her letter titled The Missing Link that she had a hypothesis that the "range of the moment menality" is the "missing Lin". It also appears in either PHILOSPHY, WHO NEEDS IT or THE NEW LEFT: THE ANITI INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. Now the rest of the stary; from SCIENCE DIGEST 1983 in an article titled "Was Early Man Schizophrenic", a Dr.Jaynes located the defining characteristic of man in the rational faculty. I hope I don't have to explain the connectin to "The Missing Link".

3) Given the understanding of hypnosis, especially before 1950 and how it is portraayed, one could hardly blame Rand for not buying it. Granted she was wrong but hindsight is better than foresight by a damnsight.

4) We are supposed to take ESP and that kind of stuff seriously? Nathaniel? What's next alien abductions? Majestic 12? shadow people? fairies, elves, demons and "nature people? Why don't you just fill in for George Norry on Coast to Coast? You'll fit right in. It's been a fact for some times that the "scientist" is easily fooled and ends up falling for what a conjuror like the Great (James) Randi refutes in 3 minutes flat. e.g. Uri Geller: He had everybody buffaloed until Randi showed that he could do all those trick on demand.

5) Science is by nature conservative. We don't rush headlong into accepting novel ideas. Remember cold fusion? We've been knoked ass over tea kettle too many times.

Any more Hazards?

1. I will repeat what I said earlier: Nothing I have read in Six Pillars contradicts what I have learned about Objectivism. Yeah, we all have BS dectors, and we can read and think for ourselves and decide if it is or not.

2. Life has evolved. That is a fact. All the "ins and outs" of what the evoluntionary process is - that is a hypothesis. But that life evolves is a fact.

3. Do I think hypnosis is valid? Maybe not - but having said that, I am not reading anything by him about hypnosis, and even if I do, it doesn't have anything to do with what I have read and listened to by Branden (including his Basic Prin of Objectivism lectures - which Rand approved I might add). So what is your point there? Rand was mistaken about a few things, but I don't through out everything she stated just because she (in my opinion) is wrong about no women should be president, or that she stated homosexuality is wrong.

4. Again - what is your point? That's great Rand disputes it. I haven't seen any scientific proof that has convinced me that ESP is real. However, the same answer applies as #3

5. He can be wrong about things and right about others. That doesn't make everything he has written wrong or evil.

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1. I will repeat what I said earlier: Nothing I have read in Six Pillars contradicts what I have learned about Objectivism. Yeah, we all have BS dectors, and we can read and think for ourselves and decide if it is or not.

2. Life has evolved. That is a fact. All the "ins and outs" of what the evoluntionary process is - that is a hypothesis. But that life evolves is a fact.

3. Do I think hypnosis is valid? Maybe not - but having said that, I am not reading anything by him about hypnosis, and even if I do, it doesn't have anything to do with what I have read and listened to by Branden (including his Basic Prin of Objectivism lectures - which Rand approved I might add). So what is your point there? Rand was mistaken about a few things, but I don't through out everything she stated just because she (in my opinion) is wrong about no women should be president, or that she stated homosexuality is wrong.

4. Again - what is your point? That's great Rand disputes it. I haven't seen any scientific proof that has convinced me that ESP is real. However, the same answer applies as #3

5. He can be wrong about things and right about others. That doesn't make everything he has written wrong or evil.

The point is that I was addressing thing that Branden castigated Rand for not believing. Did you see me reject the notion that life evolved? What I, and others, reject is that the choice is between Darwinism and creationism. In fact I've seen theological material from the 1200's that held that "things go from teh lesser to the greater..." As for ESP et al to show how bogus all that stuff is use

http://console.spacepatrol.us/bsboard.html

This is basic stuff and one would expect a trained scientist, especially one who shoots his mouth off, to know better. In this case, would it be better to be though evil or dumb?

This was listed in the Hazards (of Objectivism; while at the same time, trying to appeal to Objectivists [scratches head]). They do not pertain to Objectivism in any way. Thereefore it was part of a package deal. If he wanted to attack Rand for some antiquated attitudes that's one thing (and why wait until she had passed away and was unable to make a rebuttal or racant? THAT is evil). Now she was wrong in many cases. Hypnosis is real, I assure you and I stipulated that it was presented in a certain way at the time. However she claimed to be neither omniscient nor infallible so why castigate her for being a person of her time and try to tag Objectivism with it? all they amounted to were personal quirks.

My point is that, given these antics, Brnaden's credibility is precariously close to fallign into the crapper. It may not make him totally wrong; even a blind sow can find some mash, and the question of evil, well, the jury's still out, but it does make him suspect. and does not augur well.

That's my point.

Edited by Space Patroller

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The first hazard Branden states in his essay, is confusing reason with "the reasonable."

He says:

There is a difference between reason as a process and what any person or any group of people, at any time in history, may regard as "the reasonable." This is a distinction that very few people are able to keep clear. We all exist in history, not just in some timeless vacuum, and probably none of us can entirely escape contemporary notions of "the reasonable." It’s always important to remember that reason or rationality, on the one hand, and what people may regard as "the reasonable," on the other hand, don’t mean the same thing.

The consequence of failing to make this distinction, and this is markedly apparent in the case of Ayn Rand, is that if someone disagrees with your notion of "the reasonable," it can feel very appropriate to accuse him or her of being "irrational" or "against reason."

If you read her books, or her essays in The Objectivist, or if you listen to her lectures, you will notice with what frequency and ease she branded any viewpoint she did not share as not merely mistaken but "irrational" or "mystical." In other words, anything that challenged her particular model of reality was not merely wrong but "irrational" and "mystical" -- to say nothing, of course, of its being "evil," another word she loved to use with extraordinary frequency.

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The first hazard Branden states in his essay, is confusing reason with "the reasonable."

The concept reasonable does not mean what Branden has described above.

If one induces the concept from the facts of reality (by asking oneself what facts of reality gave rise to this concept?), it objectively means exercising reason (or being rational) in one's dealings with other people.

But according to Branden, the concept reasonable has no objective meaning.

Bottom line: If there’s one thing that is clear from Branden's essay, it is this: in his years of association with Ayn Rand, he never grasped the principle of objectivity.

I fail to see where Branden confuses reasonable with reason or objectivity in your selected quotations. In fact, he distinguishes the two correctly in order to illustrate a fallacy. You seem to have misread what he says, then blamed him for what he did not say. You will have to come up with better evidence that Branden neither understands nor practices objectivity, especially in the face of all his works, before and beyond his association with Ayn Rand.

Branden made a distinction here that allows the reader to understand the social metaphysical roots of "reasonable" for any society or time, and just because he highlights a common error, does not mean he endorses it, nor abandons true objectivity.

I suggest you first reread OPAR, and make sure you understand the fallacy of rationalism before you erect strawmen to attack or inflict cut & paste philosophizing on a great person.

Stay Focused,

<Φ>aj

Edited by aristotlejones

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And I'm much more comfortable reading a self-help book where the author is closer to my worldview. It might not seem important but it makes a difference, however hard to explain.

Some of the materials I've come across are even religious in nature, which makes me uncomfortable.

Most self-help books are trap doors for religion which welcomes people as flawed, and not perfectible.

We all >make< mistakes, but that doesn't mean we >are< mistakes.

I was lucky enough to attend two seminars Branden held in Vancouver many years ago, which focused on teaching people how to use the sentence stem techniques for self-exploration and deprogramming flawed responses. One thing I'll never forget, which I've never experienced with any other human being before or since, is Branden's conscious integrity when someone asks him a serious question. In the seminar or in the hallway, he would stop, and think, and think, sometimes to the point when people would start looking at their watches, and then he would finally come up with the most enlightening, incisive, actionable, and profound answers.

As others have said, Branden is not seeking to replace or correct objectivism, only bring more clarity to one of its most important aspects.

Stay Focused,

<Φ>aj

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Rather than get into a "separating the pepper from the flyspecks" argument of "reason" and "reasonable". How about this

Reason is the faculty and reasoning is the process of using that faculty

Reasonable is the content generated by, or concomittant with reasoning.

Truth is what you get when you use valid reasoning (process) with factual premises (the stuff you start with that is material to the matter at hand) Now if you use valid reasoning to try and solve a problem but your premises are not factual you will get a falshood. If the premises are factua butl immaterial the result is a falsehood. If the precess is flawed, whether or not the premises are factuall or material, the resutl is a falsehood. Hence as Rand stated "Truth is the correct identification of a fact of reality"

Miss Rand said, to my knowledge, very little about the operational aspect of this save that it was the process of logic. Knowledge of this was treated as a given.

Given all the above, one of the key characteristics of objectivity is that I can follow the process and come to the same conclusions as anyone who used the same premises and valid reasoning i.e. it is replacable. If that is true and I come to a different conclusion then our disagreement most likely is in the area of premises and probably on the question of "Are they material?"

Why Branden ought consider this a Hazard of Objectivism I don't know since it is not unique to Objectivism and is less of a factor in adult thinking (post age 25) than pre-adult thinking (20-25 due to the inexperience and physio-cognitive development), just as there is a separation of emotions from feelings (one is the generator, the other is the output) at about the same time. The difference is that the emotions, barring a physcial malfunction, have the logical process automatized and such errors that occur are errors of fact or judgement. Just rcently we have started to think of "emotional intelligence" and its use to stay out of bad situations. This logical process is inaccessible to conscious controlled and is "programmed" and "re-programmed" behaviorally (by setting up new "stimuls-integration-response" pathways). This is the foundation of behaviour modification. In one area, Branden was correct; the attempt to consciously control emotions is actually the evasion of the material premises and leads to repression, not the "cure".

Hwever, even if we allow that this is a "Hazard" of Objectivism [which it is not since non-O'ists can make the same errors]". the enumeration of the other "Hazards of Objectivism" which appear to be quirks that I've dealt with elsewhere, and not matters that Rand presented as philosophical matters (not material) merely make this the opening wedge for an attack on Rand and by extension (being listed as a hazard of), Objectivism.

This is a technique that I use if I must lie. I tell one or more truths of the matter and the lie is inserted somewhere near, but not at, the end of the presentation, usually as a premise, and then let my target try to figure it out. As I put it : "Tell four truths and one lie". but this seems to be telling one truth and a few lies (immaterial matters) and using the truth to leverage the lies.

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I fail to see where Branden confuses reasonable with reason or objectivity in your selected quotations. In fact, he distinguishes the two correctly in order to illustrate a fallacy. You seem to have misread what he says, then blamed him for what he did not say. You will have to come up with better evidence that Branden neither understands nor practices objectivity, especially in the face of all his works, before and beyond his association with Ayn Rand.

Branden made a distinction here that allows the reader to understand the social metaphysical roots of "reasonable" for any society or time, and just because he highlights a common error, does not mean he endorses it, nor abandons true objectivity.

I suggest you first reread OPAR, and make sure you understand the fallacy of rationalism before you erect strawmen to attack or inflict cut & paste philosophizing on a great person.

Stay Focused,

<Φ>aj

I disagree.

Being objective means you are focused on nothing but adhering to reality in the exercise of your rational faculty.

This means in dealing with other people, you are primarily concerned NOT with what they regard as rational or reasonable but with how it is related to reality, i.e., if it can be related to reality, to begin with.

If it cannot be so related, then what they regard as rational or reasonable is not objectively so, regardless of the fact that it is what they regard as such.

It is this fundamental principle (of relating everything to reality, including the rational or reasonable according to any individual or group) that Branden fails to practice in his false criticism of Ayn Rand.

Instead, he says, in addition to being rational, it is also important to focus on what other people regard as rational or reasonable, since (according to him) there is a fundamental difference between the two. And that Ayn Rand was only focused on the first and negatively judged anyone whose idea of the rational or reasonable clashed with what she regarded as such.

I would have accepted this criticism of Ayn Rand if she was the kind of person who habitually rejected what other people regarded as rational or reasonable, regardless of whether she could relate it to reality. But there's no evidence of her being such a person. And I'm definitely not going to take on faith what Branden has written about her in his memoirs as evidence of such a possibility.

Had Branden explicitly mentioned that in dealing with other people, it is ultimately reality and nothing but reality which is the standard for objectively judging what they regard as rational or reasonable, I wouldn't have bothered to criticize him.

Because in that case, I would have correctly identified him as a person who really knows what it means to practice the principle of objectivity in dealing with other people.

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Diana Hsieh has written an excellent post titled Nathaniel Branden's Campaign Against Objective Moral Judgment on her blog NoodleFood, in which she thoroughly analyzes Branden's third hazard from his essay, namely, encouraging moralizing.

I highly recommend this post to anyone who is seriously interested in understanding why his essay is a complete distortion of Ayn Rand's philosophy.

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The second hazard Branden states in his essay, is encouraging repression.

He says:

We must be guided by our conscious mind, Rand insisted; we must not follow our emotions blindly. Following our emotions blindly is undesirable and dangerous: Who can argue with that? Applying the advice to be guided by our mind isn’t always as simple as it sounds. Such counsel does not adequately deal with the possibility that in a particular situation feelings might reflect a more correct assessment of reality than conscious beliefs or, to say the same thing another way, that the subconscious mind might be right while the conscious mind was mistaken. I can think of many occasions in my own life when I refused to listen to my feelings and followed instead my conscious beliefs — which happened to be wrong — with disastrous results. If I had listened to my emotions more carefully, and not been so willing to ignore and repress them, my thinking — and my life — would have advanced far more satisfactorily.

A clash between mind and emotions is a clash between two assessments, one of which is conscious, the other might not be. It is not invariably the case that the conscious assessment is superior to the subconscious one; that needs to be checked out. The point is not that we follow the voice of emotion or feeling blindly, it means only that we don’t dismiss our feelings and emotions so quickly; we try to understand what they may be telling us; we don’t simply repress, rather we try to resolve the conflict between reason and feeling. We strive for harmony, for integration. We don’t simply slash away the pieces of ourselves that don’t fit our notion of the good or the right or the rational.

Edited by rameshkaimal

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I read this work quite some time ago, and it seemed to me that a more apt title for it would be "the hazards of several common misunderstandings of Objectivism." I believe the essay is worth studying for that reason *provided* Branden's (deliberate) misunderstanding is stipulated.

Repressing as Rearden did, before he resolved his issues (and therefore before he became an Objectivist) would of course be one of those. And I suspect the fact that Rearden was depicted having these problems is why this particular misunderstanding is so common--throughout most of the book the (apparent) hero is shown behaving this way. A lot of rationalists decide to be like Rearden. It takes a smidgen of extra thought to figure out that one of the many reasons Rearden is admirable is that he is willing to work to overcome the problem, not because he has it.

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The second hazard Branden states in his essay, is encouraging repression.

Sounds like you believe repression is when one gives priority to conscious data over emotions or subconscious potentials, when in fact the reverse is true. [but that's a side-quibble]

The use of emotions and the subconscious, in most people, is based on their history, role models, aspirations, and the costs incurred when they followed their values. However, in those trying to behave objectively in the explicit sense Rand taught, first their haywired programming has to be examined consciously, over many years, with a weedwacker and trimming shears, until one's emotions and subconscious responses are congruent with their consciously held values. The more one retrains and consciously holds objective values, the more their emotional and subconscious responses will mirror these values every day. Given our present culture's antagonism towards objectivity and individualism, this is very difficult for most people to acheive consistently.

I personally have been on this journey since I was thirty, and I just turned fifty a few days ago. By conscious attention to objective values, I have saved my own life several times, when there was objectively not enough time to process the amount of data consciously and still come up with the right descision. I'm talking about the kind of split second decision that made me turn my bike into a position that would have normally caused me to crash into a busy intersection, but instead allowed me to hit a glancing blow on a car that was dangerously racing through rush hour traffic, where a direct impact most likely would have killed me. Two things I identified later were responsible for this decision. First, I had consciously chosen to take more care in protecting my life, and to be more aware of my surroundings to that end. And second, by having that value formost in my conscious mind, generally, if not at that moment, my subconscious filing system popped up a reference in a book I had read on biking on ice which recommended to turn a bike sideways to distribute the impact. I had much less time to decide than it took to type this, and it was my subconscious that gave me the data about what action to take. I trusted my subconscious because I had learned to trust it because I had been retraining it consciously for many years at that time.

Another example is when one takes up a martial art such as aikido. To learn anything with a both physical and mental component, one must start slow, and go through each step consciously, and repetitively, or there will always be weak points in your technique and those are the cracks in which an opponent can turn your technique against you. The more you train consciously, the more you are training your subconscious mind, which to be more scientific, is your muscle memory.

Most people, when they are falling towards the floor, flail out their arms and break a wrist (common in icerinks). It is quite frightening, initially, to tuck your head away from the ground, making you blind in that direction, and to roll along one side of your arm. With a lot of training, you can do it without thinking about it. So the conscious begets the subconscious.

Now, one can have a subconscious chocked full with irrational, contradictory, bloody dangerous responses. And most people do. But the objective thing to do is to identify where the flaws are, where one responds emotionally and incorrectly to a situation (as in personal relationships), and corrects the conscious errors that lead to the subconscious ones. Likewise, as Branden said, when one rigidly applies a consciously held (and maybe poorly understood) principle which one uses to override previous subconscious integrations, sometimes, the subconscious is the right call. Sometimes. It is the responsibility to every adult to sort through their epistemology, history, and mistakes (past & present), and continually reprogram their subconscious with the aim of being more objective and more life-valuing.

Although I admired Spock in Star Trek, once I understood objectivist epistemology, I could never believe that such an emotion stripped race would ever survive a second season of the Pon Far.

Bottom line is that emotions are a necessary part of being objectively human, and it is beholden upon the torchbearers of objectivism to train their emotions appropriately. Galt had emotions consistent with his epistemology, as did other Rand characters to the extent and scope of their development.

While Rand gave us an objective epistemology, and many fictional examples of objective characterizations, Branden has and is supplying the tools to help us retrain and deprogram bad epistemologies, and to grasp, not just consciously, but subconsciously, the values of objectivism. The developmental aspect of achieving Galt-hood from Mouch-hood is missing in Rand's fiction. I think that Branden is teaching us how to develop into more objective people who can feel emotions without guilt or obfuscation, because they understand and live their epistemological roots, and that is a service to the objectivist community that should not be disparaged or belittled.

Sincerely,

<Φ>aj

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The second hazard Branden states in his essay, is encouraging repression.

While looking for a new signature quote, I found this:

Emotions proceed from reason, and where there are no firm, rational convictions, there can be no real emotions. Ayn Rand Journal

<Φ>aj

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There is no Aristotelian philosphy that denies the value of emotion. They all oppose whim-worship, of "if it feels good, do it"

Roddenberry's apperetnly flawed (and I say "apparently" because Spock's character could be interpreted as a man or Vulcan in transition and they never said they had no emotions only that they controlled them) is of Stoic origin Which is really the home of repression.

Also answering the question of conscious vs subconscious, Rand has said that a person's implicit (unacknowledged, subconscious) philsophy (which often drives the behavior) is often better than his explicit one and that his sense of life, "a preconceptual, emotionally integreted equivalent of philosphy; specifically metaphyiscis", is an aid to philosphy and can be better than a person's explicit philosophy

From my understanding the pon far was to bleed off the emotions and put them in a context that was OK but undiscussed. Well, if you're gong to abandon Aristotelian views, then you have to have a pressure valve.

Also Spock and McCoy really served as two archtypal characters like the angel and devil that appear in cartoons which counsel the main charater to do things. Only instead of good and evil, it's the flawed dichotomy of thought vs feeling, with Kirk being the person who has to find some way to make the two work. To which there are two answers. 1) Compromise, do a little of each and put up with the contradiction, in which case you're never really happy, or 2) integrate, have them both going in the same direction.

The only thing I can come up with is that the subconscious should be the home of process and the conscious should be the home of data, information, knowledge etc. One is method the other is content. The only time I make a principle explicit it is when I must state it. Most of the time my principles are used to control the process of logic. This is how philosophical principles are different form all others. When I solve a math or science problem, I get the data and think of the principle and see how the two line up and let the process implicit in the principle render the answer. In the case of philsophical principles, especially epistemology, I am rarely conscious of the principle. I ask "is this an axiomatic concept?", I don't ask "what is an axiomatic concept?". I ask "how does this square with the real world?", I don't think about "Existence exists" and only once have I thought about the full ramifications of that axiomatic concept as it applies to the human soul (volitional rational consciousness).

http://cockpit.spacepatrol.us/09feb.html

So the only thing that repression has to do with Objectivism is as a misunderstanding thereof.

I kind of hate to badmouth Branden as he was my first model of what a psychologist should be.

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A lot of rationalists decide to be like Rearden. It takes a smidgen of extra thought to figure out that one of the many reasons Rearden is admirable is that he is willing to work to overcome the problem, not because he has it.

I think this is a very important point, and there is not anything in Objectivist that says it is moral to repress one's emotions. Repression is not immoral, in that emotions are not tools of cognition anyhow, but one's emotions makes one's values immediately and automatically experienced. One of the best things about Objectivism is that it taught me that emotions come from one's value premises, and that it is possible to check one's value premises to be more geared towards man's life as the standard. This also led me not to want to check my emotional reactions continuously as I did when I was a Catholic (in other words, it was Catholicism for me that led to repression, not Objectivism). So, by far, I would say that Objectivism most certainly does not teach one to be repressed as a general psychological principle. By far, coming across Objectivism led me to accept that there was no mind / body dichotomy, and no reason / emotion dichotomy. It doesn't mean that one can go by one's emotions for one's values, only that your emotions are the experience of your value system.

Psychological problems that might arise set aside, I don't think it is a good idea to repress; and if one is repressed due to psychological problems, I highly recommend getting that fixed so that one can better enjoy one's life.

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