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Collectivist feelings in an Objectivist world?

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Okay, I haven't posted in a while, but something someone said to me recently got me thinking about a topic. I'm not the best at phrasing questions, so please bare with me (if you will).

In the Fountainhead, when Roark, Dagny and the sculptor (whose name I forget) build the temple, I got the impression that they all had a feeling of ownership in the temple. Is it not (or how is it not) a feeling of collectivism (bad word for this, maybe?) when a group of people feel so attached to a mutual creation?

in possible other words, what is the distinction between collectivism and that sharing of creation with others?

(I'm not talking about property rights or intellectual rights either, in case that comes up).

Thanks for your time and opinions on the subject.

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in possible other words, what is the distinction between collectivism and that sharing of creation with others?

If I am not mistaken on the context, in the case you have described above, there are objective reasons for why each of the three contributors should have a rightful ownership to some share of the product of their collaborative efforts. On the other hand, collectivism would categorize a large group of people for non-objective reasons. For example, claiming to represent all "black" voters (do they really?) or claiming that something belongs to "the people". In each of the latter cases, individuals are being lumped together in these groups, without their consent, and these groups do not necessarily represent the intersection of each of the individual interests of the members in the group.

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Okay, I haven't posted in a while, but something someone said to me recently got me thinking about a topic. I'm not the best at phrasing questions, so please bare with me (if you will).

In the Fountainhead, when Roark, Dagny and the sculptor (whose name I forget) build the temple, I got the impression that they all had a feeling of ownership in the temple. Is it not (or how is it not) a feeling of collectivism (bad word for this, maybe?) when a group of people feel so attached to a mutual creation?

in possible other words, what is the distinction between collectivism and that sharing of creation with others?

(I'm not talking about property rights or intellectual rights either, in case that comes up).

Thanks for your time and opinions on the subject.

There is certainly room for collaboration in a world that recognizes the sovereignty of an individual over his own life. Some tasks are simply too large for a single person to achieve entirely on his own -- say, for example, a man wants to build an oil well. If he has to look around for a suitable site, design the architecture of the well, create the machinery to drill the well, operate the machinery, and build a pipeline to pump the oil to his customers, he might spend his entire life and not finish the project. Instead, he collaborates -- perhaps he takes charge of locating a site, but collaborates with an architect who knows how to design the well, an engineer who plans out the machinery to drill it, etc. Each of these men has a distinct individual contribution to the project as they work together. Each of the men is justifiably proud of his own contribution and feels a sense of ownership of the project -- without deceiving himself into thinking that the other men made no contribution. This is collaboration without collectivism.

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Is it not (or how is it not) a feeling of collectivism (bad word for this, maybe?) when a group of people feel so attached to a mutual creation?

Interesting. I had just read a passage from a novel a night or so ago that is fitting for this, one from Country of the Heart, by Kay Nolte Smith. I'll quote it here. This was at the celebration for the centennial anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. A female, Hedy, who had defected to the West (from Russia through Paris to America) is at this celebration and this is what she's thinking and feeling while there. I thought this was appropriate, because this emotion she speaks of, is not because of some collaborative effort on her part on the statue itself, (like in your TF example) but from a celebration more on the meaning of the statue as such, a response to it: (just before this passage she pinpoints the sources of her emotions and shares those identifications with the reader, but I didn't include it for brevity's sake:)

On that day, despite the party atmosphere, she saw her own emotion reflected on hundreds of face, as if the concept that had fired minds all over the globe was for once grasped fully by those who had never needed to think about it. She had felt tied to everyone in Battery Park, in Manhattan, in the United States. How ironic, she had thought, that the sense of the kollectiv, which years of Soviet admonitions had failed to instill in her, should come upon her there, in the country founded on individualism.
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I would figure that this would be similar to the concept of a corporation.

I would think instead in terms of a partnership, itself also a legitimate business vehicle.

Stella has it right. I'll just add that the assertion of collectivised ownership in these situations is committing the same fallacy as the assertion that independence has to mean that a man obtains absolutely every single concrete value he wants by his own mind and hands working directly upon nature to create them from completely scratch and without the slightest trace of any sort of coordinated effort or other interaction with another man in the process.

Ammo: Smith is misidentifying the true sentiment. It is instead a sentiment of recognising that these people she is observing share some of her key values, and so she in turn places at least some value in each of those people. There is nothing inherently collectivist about that.

JJM

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Ammo: Smith is misidentifying the true sentiment. It is instead a sentiment of recognising that these people she is observing share some of her key values, and so she in turn places at least some value in each of those people. There is nothing inherently collectivist about that.

No there isn't, I agree, but I don't see it as a misidentification, but the way that Hedy is recognizing those values is by observing her own emotions seemingly reflected, manifested on other faces in the crowd - so they were experiencing what she was emotionally at the same time, experiencing the emotional products of those values together, that is the only sense of the kollectiv she has ever felt, no matter what sense the Soviet Union was trying to instill in her, which made it ironic to her, because of her backstory. Smith was careful in using the guarding words - "sense of" - so that she could, imo, successfully get the irony and point across.

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  • 3 weeks later...
in possible other words, what is the distinction between collectivism and that sharing of creation with others?

In objectivism, when sharing a creation with others, participation is voluntary and the benefits obtained by that sharing would in general be in proportion to the amount of work or capital invested. With collectivism, participation is mandatory and those who try to refuse are compelled to participate, by force if necessary -- and the benefits of sharing are distributed in proportion to "need" (or other arbitrary metrics).

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