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Saurabh

Chris Langhan and Objectivism

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Guys,

I think that if one is to promote Objectivism, one would also need a high level of Intelligence (apart from Integrity/Honesty/etc).

In this context, I wonder why one (or ARI, etc) would not reach out to high IQ people like Chris Langhan to help make better arguments/theories in support of Objectivism.

I believe that he has read Ayn Rand (at least Anthem)..

Thoughts?

Edited by Saurabh

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I think that if one is to promote Objectivism, one would also need a high level of Intelligence (apart from Integrity/Honesty/etc).

In this context, I wonder why one (or ARI, etc) would not reach out to high IQ people like Chris Langhan to help make better arguments/theories in support of Objectivism.

I would expect that intelligent people already know of Rand. That does not make them rational people, thus not necessarily pro-Rand. Until Rand's morality takes better hold, our culture will not change for the better and us pro-Rand "intelligent" people will have to be satisfied with focusing on our own lives and on how to cope with the Statist trend.

Edited by TLD

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There are plenty of smart people out there who write on Objectivism. Other than publicizing these works as much as possible, which is something ARI should already be doing, there's not much more they could or should be doing to sell Objectivism to other smart people. Objectivism should stand or fall on its arguments and reasoning, not on who is presenting them.

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Objectivism should stand or fall on its arguments and reasoning, not on who is presenting them.

My point was different. I meant using high-IQ people to build a better case for Objectivism - not to use their name to sell existing arguments.

AR was a genuis. She was able to make amazing theories. Similarly, another genuis can take Objectivism further. He could do the following:

- Use his Knowledge and Intellect to build more theories (e.g. similar to AR's theory on 'Why does Russia has most chess Grand Masters', similar to her Theory of concepts, etc)

- Attack all existing wrong Philosophies in the world, based on his Knowledge (e.g. I have not seen any Objectivist addressing Indian Philosophies. Mostly people talk about Plato and Aristotle)

- Apply better conceptual integrations (e.g. show people how their lives have worsened due to irrational behavior)

- Do some of the things AR wanted herself to do (I think there was something on Music - can't remember exactly)

- Figure out what else needs to be done!

Other than publicizing these works as much as possible, .., there's not much more they could or should be doing to sell Objectivism to other smart people.

I strongly disagree with the 'Should' part above.

The issue with Objectivism is not Publicity. Do all of the people who are well aware of Objectivism, fully Practice it? Even Peikoff said to AR that it was difficult to be like her heroes (Roark/Galt).

Therefore, the issue is lack of Adherence (which is due to lack of full Acceptance and/or Will-power). These are the issues that need to be addressed. Now, though will-power is a matter of personal choice, a genuis can still add value (e.g. Hazlitt's book on Will-power).

There are plenty of smart people out there who write on Objectivism.

My hypothesis is that Objectivism needs more Intelligent people than it has today. It may have lot of people with high Integrity - but that alone is not enough to achieve the purpose.

My evidence for this hypothesis is that I have not seen any famous Objectivist having graduated from an Ivy league institution - or even teaching there.

I must admit that I have not done a thorough search at all. Which is why this is still a Hypothesis.

And I am rational enough to change my view if evidence is there. In the course of next few years, I will explore this in more detail.

But, reactions to this hypothesis are welcome. I will use these to refine my view.

Edited by Saurabh

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AR was a genuis. She was able to make amazing theories. Similarly, another genuis can take Objectivism further.

Peikoff and a few others have indeed done much of what you suggest.

The forums for making philosophical arguments are limited, and that is needed if the practical consequences of adhering to Obj. are to be fully understood.

The issue with Objectivism is not Publicity. Do all of the people who are well aware of Objectivism, fully Practice it? Even Peikoff said to AR that it was difficult to be like her heroes (Roark/Galt).

Good point. Obj.ists have to first practice it consistently, thus showing their friends and acquaintances what it is truly like to be rational/moral and how that translates to politics.

Also, there are few who truly grasp Obj. fully, but there are many who are capable of convincing others of its strong points.

My hypothesis is that Objectivism needs more Intelligent people than it has today. It may have lot of people with high Integrity - but that alone is not enough to achieve the purpose.... I have not seen any famous Objectivist having graduated from an Ivy league institution - or even teaching there.

It needs more rational people being exposed. And those are not the people who are likely to go to Ivy league schools.

Edited by TLD

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Last I heard from that dude, he thought people should need state permission to have children. (To limit the 'problem' of over-population.)

One can argue with him and try to convince him why Individual Freedom is a virtue. Actually, this is the kind of effort that may make sense for an Objectivist to make..

If he still sticks to his position illogically then we can ignore him.

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One can argue with him and try to convince him why Individual Freedom is a virtue.

" Freedom is not necessarily a right. It is a privilege that you have to earn. A lot of people abuse their freedom and that is something that people have to be trained not to do."-Smartest man in the world who also suggested that he could do the training.

You got some serious work ahead of you, if you wanna convince this fellow.

IQ =/= Smart as a general rule. It measures a few very specific sorts of things. James Randi walked out of a talk at Mensa he was giving because of some blatant irrationality.

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Obj.ists have to first practice it consistently, thus showing their friends and acquaintances what it is truly like to be rational/moral and how that translates to politics.

Exactly. I would also add that this is one of the two things needed. The second thing being - the application of a high level of Intellect.

I will elaborate on this piece in future, as I develop my thinking further.

My objective is to see how consulting (e.g. McKinsey, etc) business problem-solving skills can be applied to solving problems at Societal and Individual level. The first step is to identify the nature (root causes) of the problem. The problem in this case being: the less-than-desired dominance of Objectivism in the world.

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You got some serious work ahead of you, if you wanna convince this fellow.

The battle of ideas ain't going to be easy...

A rational and purpose-driven person would not get deterred by the difficulty of the task.

My in-going hypothesis will be: "He is a smart man. So, why would he not listen to logic? Now, only if I collect strong evidence that he is irrational and incorrigible, would I stop. But, let me reach out to him and check.."

I have a vague feeling that lot of people hate him just because he is so smart...

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I have a vague feeling that lot of people hate him just because he is so smart...

Or maybe he's just a arrogant douchebag who thinks he has proven god's existence with math and still hasn't gotten over his childhood issues from half a century previous? I just watched an interview with him. I'm totally unimpressed.

Battling for the right ideas is great but picking the right battles is critical and there are probably 100 better ways that you could come up with to spend your energy then trying to convince a 58 year old mystic who has no regard for others opinions to change his mind about almost everything he already believes. His life's work looks like the embodiment of the primacy of consciousness. Might be a fun conversation to hear about, though, so don't let me dissuade you from trying. I just wouldn't get too attached to the idea.

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Might be a fun conversation to hear about, though, so don't let me dissuade you from trying. I just wouldn't get too attached to the idea.

Sure - I would approach this in a cold rational manner. I am not emotionally (irrationally) attached to the idea.

I will reach out to him when I am ready (could be in 1-2 years or before). Meanwhile, if anyone else is also interested and serious about the matter, please feel free to reach out to me - or even to point out any flaw/contradiction in my approach.

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Since the time and money available for activism on Objectivism is limited, it makes sense to focus that effort on people who can do more than become Objectivists themselves, on people who might actually also help spread Objectivism. I don't think intelligence is the only factor. Wealth and potential for wealth is important too. If one can convince a middle-class person about Objectivism, he may contribute a little money to help spread the ideas further, if you convince a millionaire, he might contribute much more, and a billionaire even more (imagine Soros using his money for Objectivism instead of socialism as he now does). Similarly, one might focus not just on the potential for wealth, but the potential for being successful. People who are successful in their own fields are looked up to and influential. Another area of activism may be people who have political power and influence. Another might be people who intend to influence others: i.e intellectuals who are going to write, be on TV and so on. Another might be people like teachers and professors who might have influence on students.

Of course it is not always easy to identify groups of people who will have influence on others. More importantly, it is not always easy to address them (i.e. one has to look at the "cost" side and weigh that against the value side.)

Edited by softwareNerd

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The thing is, whle he may be smart, in the grand scheme of things I don't think his extra IQ means all that much. He may be able to do 1.5x as much mental heavy lifting as the average academic, but ultimately that's like having a 2.5ghz processor rather than a 1.5ghz processor on your computer: what you achieve is still almost entirely down to how you choose to spend your time and what premises/ethics you start from.

I don't 'hate' Christopher Langham at all, I just don't think he's going to be receptive to Objectivist ideas: same way I saw people wonder about Christopher Hitchens on this forum recently, who happened to say in a recent interview that he's a Marxist.

On a side note, on the website Quora.com (you guys would probaly like it, check it out), I recently asked a question 'Do programmers overstate the value of abstraction.' One answer was very interesting, saying that as a programmer your always taught that one change to your code could (adversely) affect the entire system, beyond what you intended; whereas in the social sciences and in practical management within communities and institutions etc., people don't tend to map out the workings of the whole system before they go tinkering. Perhaps those fields would benefit from more abstract analysis, like programmers are used to.

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it makes sense to focus that effort on, ..., people who might actually also help spread Objectivism.

SN,

My point is that it is not Spreading that is required. What is needed is Penetration...

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I just don't think Chris Langhan is going to be receptive to Objectivist ideas

May be you are right. But I will still reach out to him someday.

I sensed lot of pain and genuineness in his eyes, on a youtube video. And I am aware of the human cognitive biases as well. So, I would not form an opinion on him based on one or two dots. Nevertheless, even if a negative opinion gets formed over time - one can still persuade an intelligent person. At least the rules of the game would be known with such a person.

Indian saints used to do Philosophical debates among each other in ancient times. The rules of the game were: We will use logic to argue, and whoever looses would become a convert.

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