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Dustin86

Do Objectivists Truly Understand the "Other Side" that They're Lambasting?

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but Ayn Rand made no real effort to engage with those whom she labeled "mystics" and "Subjectivists". I have read her notes, and although I have read records of her visiting places like steel mills to try to make that side of her Magnum Opus (Atlas Shrugged) sound more realistic, there are no records in her notes of her ever visiting "the mystics" or "the subjectivists" in order to truly understand the people she was criticizing. Yes, she grew up in Soviet Russia, but that was a regime that claimed the mantle of "logic" and "reason" and "objectivity" every bit as fervently as she. Now you or them or anyone else can argue as to who was the proper heir of that mantle, but the fact is that the Soviets claimed that mantle with equal fervor as she. There is no record within her notes of her delving into the world of people who were more or less self-proclaimed "mystics" and "subjectivists". If I had to guess, it's because she simply saw it as "beneath her".

With other high-profile Objectivists it seems to be the exact same story. As far as I can tell, Objectivists don't really have a handle on "the other side"; they fire off criticisms of "mystics" without really knowing what "mystics" are saying.

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1 hour ago, Dustin86 said:

As far as I can tell, Objectivists don't really have a handle on "the other side"; they fire off criticisms of "mystics" without really knowing what "mystics" are saying.

Can you give a few examples of things mystics are saying, that I haven't heard?

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I spent eight of my most impressionable years attending a Catholic elementary school. I understand quite well what they were saying then, as I do now. That's all the reason I needed, when I declined the "holy sacrament" of Confirmation, and assumed the whole of all religions to be a waste of time.

 

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I thought to create this topic because since at least the beginning of the 2010's the battle lines have begun to be drawn up for a new "culture war", with "professional skeptics" such as James Randi, Michael Shermer, Richard Dawkins, etc. and their numerous followers on one side, and people such as Rupert Sheldrake, Tom Campbell, Robert McLuhan, etc. and their growing number of followers on the other side who claim to have evidence for "psychic" and "paranormal" phenomena.

I've been following this new culture war for the past few years now, and I tried very hard to give an equal hearing to both camps, but as time has worn on, I have increasingly found myself falling into the latter camp. I recently read Robert McLuhan's book "Randi's Prize" and listened to an interview about the book in which McLuhan makes a similar point to what I said at the outset of this thread: that the "skeptical" camp is not making nearly enough of an effort to understand what they are trying to criticize.

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2 minutes ago, Dustin86 said:

I thought to create this topic because since at least the beginning of the 2010's the battle lines have begun to be drawn up for a new "culture war", with "professional skeptics" such as James Randi, Michael Shermer, Richard Dawkins, etc. and their numerous followers on one side, and people such as Rupert Sheldrake, Tom Campbell, Robert McLuhan, etc. and their growing number of followers on the other side who claim to have evidence for "psychic" and "paranormal" phenomena.

I've been following this new culture war for the past few years now, and I tried very hard to give an equal hearing to both camps, but as time has worn on, I have increasingly found myself falling into the latter camp. I recently read Robert McLuhan's book "Randi's Prize" and listened to an interview about the book in which McLuhan makes a similar point to what I said at the outset of this thread: that the "skeptical" camp is not making nearly enough of an effort to understand what they are trying to criticize.

Do you understand what the mystics and subjectivists are saying?  Can you summarize some of their views and show us how Objectivists don't understand those views?  

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3 minutes ago, Craig24 said:

 Can you summarize some of their views and show us how Objectivists don't understand those views?  

No I can't, Craig. That's something you need to do, if you want to continue to criticize them. That's the point I'm trying to make. Understand something before you criticize it.

Edited by Dustin86

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1 minute ago, Dustin86 said:

No I can't, Craig. That's something you need to do, if you want to continue to criticize them.

Why would I do that?  You are the one asserting that Objectivists don't understand the views of mystics/subjectivists.  You need to prove it.  

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2 minutes ago, Dustin86 said:

that the "skeptical" camp is not making nearly enough of an effort to understand what they are trying to criticize.

I agree, Dawkins in particular fails to understand what he criticizes. He is not a serious philosophical voice of reason. He's all Scientism. Good counter-arguments require understanding of the opposing side.

Rand did make errors for some of her criticisms, especially eastern philosophy. Still, she had good understanding of how altruism must be based on irrationality, and a lot of Christian morality.

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5 minutes ago, Craig24 said:

Why would I do that?  You are the one asserting that Objectivists don't understand the views of mystics/subjectivists.  You need to prove it.  

Ayn Rand wrote extensive notes about her visits to steel mills and her efforts to try to find out about the steel business and the railroad business to try to make that side of her magnum opus (Atlas Shrugged) more convincing. However, for just one example, Rand uses the phrase "the mystic muck of India" (and similar) several times without having made any effort to understand Indian philosophy or religion, and without ever having visited India.

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29 minutes ago, Dustin86 said:

No I can't, Craig. That's something you need to do

Ok, here it is: NONE.

There. It's summarized. There's NOTHING mystics have to say that I don't understand. Now it's your turn to contradict that by naming something.

Edited by Nicky
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10 minutes ago, Dustin86 said:

Ayn Rand wrote extensive notes about her visits to steel mills and her efforts to try to find out about the steel business and the railroad business to try to make that side of her magnum opus (Atlas Shrugged) more convincing. However, for just one example, Rand uses the phrase "the mystic muck of India" (and similar) several times without having made any effort to understand Indian philosophy or religion, and without ever having visited India.

How do you know that Ayn Rand did not undertand Indian mysticism?  

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16 minutes ago, Dustin86 said:

For just one example, Rand uses the phrase "the mystic muck of India" (and similar) several times without having made any effort to understand Indian philosophy or religion, and without ever having visited India.

What didn't she understand about it? Or is that my job to figure out?

Edited by Nicky

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Look, I cannot read her mind from beyond the grave, if that's what you're asking for. However, I have read her 752 page Journals which contain detailed descriptions of visits to steel mills, notes about the steel business and the railroad business, etc. There is nothing in her writings about India other than that it (according to her) contains "mystic muck".

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22 minutes ago, Craig24 said:

How do you know that Ayn Rand did not undertand Indian mysticism?  

It's hard to boil it down. A lot of western philosophers aren't so aware of Eastern or Vedic philosophy. Rand only seemed to know about the wildly explicit mystical ideas of some forms of Hinduism. I can't say what she did understand, as she never spoke about it. At least any mention was hand-waving, and totally overlooking the other parts that were good. I mean, even the Greeks had some bad ideas.

EDIT: self-modded a part that I shouldn't have said.

Edited by Eiuol

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Just now, Dustin86 said:

Look, I cannot read her mind from beyond the grave, if that's what you're asking for. However, I have read her 752 page Journals which contain detailed descriptions of visits to steel mills, notes about the steel business and the railroad business, etc. There is nothing in her writings about India other than that it (according to her) contains "mystic muck".

So, when you said that "Objectivists don't really have a handle on the other side", that was just a lie you made up. There is no actual reason for you to say that. You have exactly zero evidence for it.

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48 minutes ago, Dustin86 said:

Look, I cannot read her mind from beyond the grave, if that's what you're asking for. However, I have read her 752 page Journals which contain detailed descriptions of visits to steel mills, notes about the steel business and the railroad business, etc. There is nothing in her writings about India other than that it (according to her) contains "mystic muck".

It contains "mystic muck"?  That's all she said?  Well that's interesting.  Do you know about Indian mysticism?  

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2 hours ago, Dustin86 said:

claim to have evidence for "psychic" and "paranormal" phenomena

... you can't possibly be serious

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1 hour ago, Craig24 said:

It contains "mystic muck"?  That's all she said?  Well that's interesting.  Do you know about Indian mysticism?  

I don't know, I think you wouldn't get a whole lot of material besides a few scattered lines. At best she only had a few one-liners of Americans who pretend to be mystical and enlightened. See anyone who speaks about "healing crystals":

Indian mysticism is a misleading term. I know of some extremely mystical sects in Buddhism. Buddhism is mystical for metaphysics in some ways - and so was Aristotle in some ways. But I also know essentially non-mystical approaches Buddhism has with regard to seeking a good life and introspection.

For Indian (vedic) philosophy, this is one resource I know of as a really basic start.

https://www.reddit.com/r/philosophy/comments/1jhf60/in_defense_of_indian_philosophy/?st=iykp03gp&sh=43820692

 

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I wonder what AR would think if she could see where India has gone in recent decades under free market reforms, and if she knew that she has a sizable following there.

Objectivism and India

Sexualty and Society (same speaker)

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7 hours ago, Nicky said:

So, when you said that "Objectivists don't really have a handle on the other side", that was just a lie you made up. There is no actual reason for you to say that. You have exactly zero evidence for it.

Rather than "just a lie you made up", in the light of having zero evidence to substantiate it, would "just an arbitrary assertion" have worked just as well?

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2 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Rather than "just a lie you made up", in the light of having zero evidence to substantiate it, would "just an arbitrary assertion" have worked just as well?

No, when someone is lying, calling their lies "arbitrary", or "alternative facts", or anything else, won't do you any good. The only English word that accurately describes someone intentionally stating something that isn't true is "lie".

By the way, the post you just replied to was originally deleted. Since you're a mod, would you mind explaining who and why deleted it, and who and why restored it?

There was also a thread I started, to complain about the deletion, that was deleted. Would you mind explaining why THAT was deleted? Or are these truths I'm not entitled to? And if so, why?

Edited by Nicky

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14 hours ago, Nicky said:

No, when someone is lying, calling their lies "arbitrary", or "alternative facts", or anything else, won't do you any good. The only English word that accurately describes someone intentionally stating something that isn't true is "lie".

That answers my question.

15 hours ago, Nicky said:

By the way, the post you just replied to was originally deleted. Since you're a mod, would you mind explaining who and why deleted it, and who and why restored it?

I restored it, in order to respond with my question. It was hidden as being provocative (exact wording eludes me.)

For what it's worth, "mystic muck" only appears in Galt's Speech, while her journal was comparing 1950's India with New York for contrast of lifestyle, which is dropping context if recent events in India are being substituted to draw what amounts to an erroneous conclusion.

 

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