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Hey all, I just recently joined, but I've been lurking and reading over some of the posts here in the past few days. I have to say I'm very impressed with the level of intelligence and argumentative skills of most of the members here. Some of it even goes over my head before I take the time to digest it.

Having never read any of Rand's works up until recently (I am just now reading Atlas Shrugged), I only became aware of Objectivism in the last sixth months and have been furiously consuming every bit of information I could find online about the epistemology and ethics. Like many of you I can imagine, I feel like much of this philosophy gives words to thoughts and gleanings I've had throughout my life. More importantly it can base those ideas on solid premises which I myself hadn't considered before. Naturally, given that, I've become quite passionate about the philosophy and have begun introducing some of my more like-minded friends to the concepts. Others I know sometimes find my passion for the subject annoying though, so I've been trying to tone it down some and watch myself so as to not slip into becoming a "Randoid", as it's put...

One thing that bothers me in particular is the revile and outright ignorance people hold for what Rand tried to express. The straw men and ad hominem abound. Even a couple of my acquaintances have insulted me personally, or claimed that I was brainwashing myself with nonsense. I find that many of their opinions are based in misconception of the subject though. How do you folks deal with this? From my reading of AS, it seems I may have a lot in common with Dagny's over-abundance of optimism and the feeling I can change anyone's mind...

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Welcome.

I have encountered it, and how it should be dealt with depends on the person. If it is someone I am acquainted with that I will likely continue to have contact with, I respond with a little levity. Responding with a joke that lets them know that I am aware of their fear helps to allay it. Then I remember to be respectful.

Part of being respectful is knowing that when you challenge someone's core beliefs, a lot of negative emotions are bound to come up. Especially in the realm of morality - think about how a parent might feel if they found out they were teaching their child a corrupt morality or indoctrinating them into a false dogma. It's going to take a lot of courage for that person to come around, which will be harder to do if you get defensive or respond with hostility.

If it isn't someone like that, just keep an even keel, tell it like it is, and know when to exit the discussion.

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Don't worry about changing other people, change yourself. Become better and more informed on the philosophy (or everything that interests you)--everyday. This way by learning to live a good, rational life and actually doing it you are leading by example without even trying. Rational people will naturally want to learn the secret to your success in life--then you can explain the principles that you live by if you so choose.

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...How do you folks deal with this? From my reading of AS, it seems I may have a lot in common with Dagny's over-abundance of optimism and the feeling I can change anyone's mind...

There are a few things for you here that you really need to hit hard on: introspection and emotions.

Introspection will help you figure out why and how something is bothering you. It's vital to keep asking yourself questions anytime something like this is eating away at you. Here is a link that contains useful excerpts from Objectivist literature on introspection: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/introspection.html

Objectivism provides a very important explanation of where emotions come from. The common answer you've been taught is that they come from nowhere and nobody knows how to change them, so standard answer is repress-at-all-costs. That's destructive to your mental well-being as you can see yourself.

Do read here: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/emotions.html

Your subconscious is like a computer—more complex a computer than men can build—and its main function is the integration of your ideas. Who programs it? Your conscious mind. If you default, if you don’t reach any firm convictions, your subconscious is programmed by chance—and you deliver yourself into the power of ideas you do not know you have accepted. But one way or the other, your computer gives you print-outs, daily and hourly, in the form of emotions—which are lightning-like estimates of the things around you, calculated according to your values.

So, it's important to ask yourself and figure out why you want to "change anyone's mind." One possible direction is to consider that others get to choose their own values, and some people want to be irrational by choice. Imagine some of the people you know acting irrationally despite your efforts and check your own response to that - do you feel like you have failed at something or that they have made their own choice which doesn't place any moral weight on you?

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So, it's important to ask yourself and figure out why you want to "change anyone's mind." One possible direction is to consider that others get to choose their own values, and some people want to be irrational by choice. Imagine some of the people you know acting irrationally despite your efforts and check your own response to that - do you feel like you have failed at something or that they have made their own choice which doesn't place any moral weight on you?

First of all, I appreciate the links to those articles and the advice, thanks!

It isn't that I feel any moral responsibility for their action, but that I feel the world is full of so many people who choose to be irrational and that I want to change the world to better suit my values. I just happen to think I'm capable of changing their minds if my arguments are well-reasoned and well-spoken, and that just isn't always the case--some people truly are just willfully ignorant.

So I wouldn't call it a feeling of guilt, or obligation, or failure on my part, just... frustration.

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In regards to the 'randroid" bit. It's just a pejorative really that is totally unlike how Objectivism works. In all of Rand's writing she constantly extols readers to think. To use their reason to comprehend and thoroughly understand. So someone who suggests that it promotes robotic dogma, or compliance with faith never bothered to check the basic principles to begin with.

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First of all, I appreciate the links to those articles and the advice, thanks!

It isn't that I feel any moral responsibility for their action, but that I feel the world is full of so many people who choose to be irrational and that I want to change the world to better suit my values. I just happen to think I'm capable of changing their minds if my arguments are well-reasoned and well-spoken, and that just isn't always the case--some people truly are just willfully ignorant.

So I wouldn't call it a feeling of guilt, or obligation, or failure on my part, just... frustration.

I would suggest then while reading Atlas Shrugged paying a lot of attention to Dagny Taggart - why she keeps fighting while others have already shrugged - try to stick to every bit of information there to the very end of the book. You could also consider all others characters and see what made them quit. The novel is very deep in terms of how much is going on there. This should give you more food for thought.

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First of all, I appreciate the links to those articles and the advice, thanks!

It isn't that I feel any moral responsibility for their action, but that I feel the world is full of so many people who choose to be irrational and that I want to change the world to better suit my values. I just happen to think I'm capable of changing their minds if my arguments are well-reasoned and well-spoken, and that just isn't always the case--some people truly are just willfully ignorant.

So I wouldn't call it a feeling of guilt, or obligation, or failure on my part, just... frustration.

Well before you talked about moral duty. Those are very strong terms, but now it seems you're backing away from that. The question I have for you is why does this frustrate? and why does that frustration create any sort of "should"? Any sort of compulsion (I believe that's how you described it before) to act? The idea that we don't live in a "rational world" strikes me as a bit platonic. Worlds are not rational. People are or aren't. So my next question is how do you sort out amonst all those irrational people, those which you just have to "help" and those which you leave alone. In addition, what do you choose to give up in order to make the effort to help those people?

Olex is right. Pay attention to Dagny Taggart. She gives too much of herself to things that don't matter and have no value to her, and she too thinks that people will see reason and the force of her will will make that self-evident to others.

There are times when advocacy is the right thing to do, but I haven't heard you articulate when you should and when you shouldn't yet.

EDIT, i just looked back over the thread some more and realize that the reference to "moral duty" was not in this thread. I may have you confused with someone else. There are several new folks joining hte board just now. My apologies if I'm misattributed.

Edited by KendallJ
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OK, I found the thread I was looking for and you are not it. My apologies. My short answer to your oriignal question is that yes, it is frustrating, but over time you also find a way to learn when to act, and when to strike, and for the rest of the time, you end up like Howard Roark, you don't much think about it, nor let it bother you.

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