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I really like ARI's focus on students in the last few years, particularly the shift away from as much activism, and more on personal development, social-networking and entrepreneurship

That kind of effort does not have quick and immediate results outside the group itself, but a few good people, united by respect and friendship, and with some shared understanding of Objectivism could lead to something, sometime... probably good.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Predicting the future is a funny thing. I don't believe anything to be fated or guaranteed, so surely there are many ways things could go... but based on my understanding of history, and my observations of the world today, here are my thoughts:

I think Objectivism will win out in the end. This is to say that reason will win out in the end, and that additionally, I expect Rand to one day be given her due as the greatest philosopher since Aristotle. But the future's rebirth of reason will also depend upon great thinkers who follow her, and neither Rand nor Objectivism will in that sense stand alone. It will not be "an Objectivist world." Rather, there will likely be many variants of thought and philosophy (as there are today), but they will be united by their foundational respect for reason -- just as so many of the unfortunate philosophies of today can be traced back to Kant, and to Plato.

I do not believe that this will take place quickly. I do not expect to see it in my lifetime. In fact, I would not at all be surprised if man lurches farther away from reason before a return. There may even already be evidence of that, in the US and in the world, in (among other things) the recent conspicuous reawakening of nationalism. Leonard Peikoff has (or so I've been told) predicted a fundamentalist rise in the United States, and Onkar Ghate (in a remarkable essay) wrote on how Donald Trump's rise suggests that the US is becoming increasingly accepting of dictatorship. These are not glad tidings.

It is possible that, from a future perspective, we will already be placed in (or on the cusp of) some kind of a "dark age" -- the 20th Century, among other things, must surely be remembered for its unprecedented bloodshed and wars, and the rise of communism and fascism and Islamic terrorism. Perhaps this is not yet fertile ground for Objectivism. Or it is possible that our approach to "activism" warrants re-examination. I think at the least that those who would like to see reason ascendant need to make common cause with potential allies, rather than continue the history of internecine warfare which has characterized the short history of "the Objectivist movement."

Whatever happens with the world, I think Objectivism is at least a personal awakening, and I would counsel every Objectivist (or every person, actually) to live the best, happiest, and most fulfilling life possible. Whatever becomes of the world, whatever happens in the future, that is Objectivism's truest meaning to me.

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I am most concerned with the future of the philosophy itself.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done filling in the gaps, correcting mistakes, and expanding into new territory in metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, ethics, politics, and the nature of man. The philosophy itself needs to become deeper and stronger, and the arguments need to get better in order to be convincing. Whether this is a continuing development of Objectivism as a system based on its sound fundamentals, or whether the fundamentals of the philosophy need to be improved and its time to close the chapter on Objectivism is still an open question.

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On 12/7/2016 at 6:53 PM, softwareNerd said:

As for impact on broad society: I think that -- within my lifetime (lets say 25 or 30 years), there will be no discernible impact. Even if it grows somewhat, the impact will be near zero. 

Do you think this is because you have no personal agenda of pushing Objectivism to make a discernible impact?  Or do you think it has something to do with the nature of Objectivism?

 

On 12/7/2016 at 8:31 PM, New Buddha said:

But, the fact that Rand claimed that she owed no philosophical debt to anyone other than Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas - coupled with the desire to avoid splinter-groups - has kept Objectivism isolated from the broader academic community, which means that there have been no real advances in the philosophy of Objectivism since her death

This seems to be a symptom of the vast history of collectivist perspectives.  What if the perspective were developed?  (I am trying to understand what I am thinking as I type, it may not be as clear as I would like it to be yet...) Objectivism is Ayn Rand, in a very real sense.  Objectivism is what she discovered during her lifetime.  Her mind burns on in the pages of her work, but she is no longer here to be won over by a compelling argument.  Exact conformity isn't expected or required to get what ever an individual is capable of getting from Objectivism.  'The Vigorous Debate' seems to be a vital essential to social interaction of people interested in Objectivism.  The priority upon which each individual focuses his or her attention will determine their perspective.  The things I agree with Rand about would be like trying to argue with gravity, it is what it is.  The personal aspects of life where I differ with her are like trying to build a rocket ship, it takes a lot of work to reach escape velocity.  Her work has fortified me with the independence, stamina, and drive to return to my own work. 

On 12/8/2016 at 5:28 PM, dream_weaver said:

The most encouraging elements are the developments in understanding just what Ayn Rand bequeathed us.

Ayn Rand bequeathed us a vast and expansive direction of learning, which took her 77 years to amass and will take any scholar years of study to even begin to take up where she left off.   At the same time, her sense of life had an immediate impact on me the first time I encountered her.  An impact I found confusing as she caused fear, intimidation, and insecurities in friends whom I initially enthusiastically exposed to Rand and her ideas.  My benevolent sense of life keeps me in affectionate contact with friends who don't have the mind or the will capable of grasping her.  I am a reference point in their mind, a stereotype of the kind of people who value Rand.  When they hear someone ranting about their hatred for Rand, they picture me and think, 'That person's sense of life doesn't feel like Tym's, what does Tym know that the haters don't?.'  

On 12/9/2016 at 0:35 AM, Nicky said:

and built a world where there's nothing anti-capitalists on the left or right ..... can do to roll it back.

I keep the quote in my signature to remind me that the nature of consciousness is volitional.

"..the being whose consciousness has a limitless capacity for gaining knowledge-man is the only living entity born without any guarantee of remaining conscious at all." - Ayn Rand - The Objectivist Ethics

The perspective that there is nothing that anyone can do for or against the tide of the world is determinism. Remembering the advocates of capitalism have done more to damage it than anyone. 

Socialists are learning from the success of free market, and they are aspiring to keep it in a state where they can glean the most second hand profit from the system without allowing it to raise or drop too far. 

On 12/11/2016 at 10:17 AM, MisterSwig said:

In fact, the A-bomb is probably the single biggest factor in the world's population increase since the 1950s.

I haven't studied the field of geography and national boarders extensively, but from what I have seen, it seems like boarders changed a great deal more before the A-bomb than they have since. 

 

On 12/11/2016 at 11:17 AM, Eiuol said:

I don't think it will ever become a dominant force, at any point.

I like what you said Eiuol.  I'm pondering a tangent... The words dominant and force pop out at me in this sentence.  Something I think people misunderstand when beginning to debate in Objectivist forums.  The idea of domination is antithetical to Objectivism.  Reason is something an individual will embrace or deny; you can pretend the sun is dominating you because of its overwhelming influence in life on earth, but domination isn't something the sun consciously attempts to enforce.  Each individual can have strong opinions, but any underlying collectivist need to dominate will weaken his argument rather than letting the defense be self evident. 

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18 minutes ago, Tenderlysharp said:

The perspective that there is nothing that anyone can do for or against the tide of the world is determinism.

I don't think that's an accurate description of determinism. Besides, I didn't say "anyone", I said "anti-capitalists".

There's a long way to go from telling someone that they can't do something, to determinism.

Edited by Nicky

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I have personally not experienced any kind of success convincing another person about the logic behind Objectivism and why the philosophy is The Way, The Truth, and The Light. Maybe it's too wordy for most people when presented that way, maybe there aren't enough social scenarios where people accept deeper conversations, I don't know the reason, but a brick wall is hit every time.

During the past couple of years I've given up the "lectures" altogether and replaced them with one-off comments in normal conversation, where I really try to think about everything from as realistic a standpoint as I can and then take a second to sum it up succinctly with a somewhat philosophical-style comment, delivered in my own words/formulation for the conversation only. People have really responded to this method, it feels like magic compared to the old strategy.

At the same time, I've focused more on my own life than on an Objectivst agenda (I'm part of a trend, I guess?), with several benefits: a better life, from which to draw examples, and a better understanding of the purpose of philosophy, and why someone would follow principles to begin with, from which I can formulate my summations.

I'm beginning to think there is no other way to get people to legitimately change their views. There has to be something to look at in real life for an "aha!" moment to happen. More emphasis should be placed on Rand's life success and enduring influence as support for the validity of her philosophy. More Objectivists should emphasize their own real life benefits following a stellar philosophy.

Edited by JASKN

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Just now, JASKN said:

There has to be something to look at in real life for an "aha!" moment to happen.

I remember someone on an ARI panel making a somewhat off the cuff remark to a question about promoting Objectivism. I think the context must have been that the questioner was not interested in a career as a professor or as an activist. The panelist said something to the effect: well, if you become rich and successful in your field and credit Objectivism for your success, that itself could have an impact... and you'll be able to fund people who want to play a more activist role.

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Just now, Tenderlysharp said:

Do you think this is because you have no personal agenda of pushing Objectivism to make a discernible impact?  Or do you think it has something to do with the nature of Objectivism?

Society -- almost all the 6 billion people on earth -- accept altruism and tribalism as a fundamental moral ideas. A large number of them accept varying degrees of mysticism. There's a lot of inertia there, and it will take a few lifetimes to move it. Of course, Rand has already had an impact: one can trace a vein in the Reagan and Thatcher governments. This was often mixed with the rise of some bad things too: like a particularly religious GOP. Further, the great recession has damaged the brand image of free-markets, and we're now in a reactionary, populist phase.  This could well reverse again...say within a decade. but, that's nowhere near having a major impact within 2 or 3 decades.

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On 12/12/2016 at 3:08 PM, Tenderlysharp said:

I like what you said Eiuol.  I'm pondering a tangent... The words dominant and force pop out at me in this sentence.  Something I think people misunderstand when beginning to debate in Objectivist forums.  The idea of domination is antithetical to Objectivism.  Reason is something an individual will embrace or deny; you can pretend the sun is dominating you because of its overwhelming influence in life on earth, but domination isn't something the sun consciously attempts to enforce.  Each individual can have strong opinions, but any underlying collectivist need to dominate will weaken his argument rather than letting the defense be self evident. 

I just meant popular or common in society and shapes government policy. I wouldn't want to enforce it.

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