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Read some Branden (and some Kelley, for that matter) and decide for yourselves.

Don't forget to read this: http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pag...=objectivism_fv

"His statements make clear to me, in purely philosophic terms and for the first time, the root cause of the many schisms that have plagued the Objectivist movement since 1968."

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We might have to start a new thread to discuss this, but since it was brought up here, I'll mention a few things about Branden's position.

He claims that Objectivism causes guilt, confusion, and repression for those new to Objectivism. As a psychologist, this is a monstrous thing for him to say. While some people might well experience those symptoms as they make their transition to Objectivism from some other philosophy, Objectivism is not the cause of those problems. The cause is a misunderstanding of the Objectivist understanding of the role of emotions and of thinking something through.

I went through quite a bit of inner turmoil going from Catholicism to Objectivism, but that was not a psychological problem, it was a problem of the lack of integration on the conscious level. There were times when I couldn't decide which system to act on in making a decision -- especially one involving morality. But I have to say that the intellectual understanding of emotions liberated me to feel my emotions openly. Emotions are understood in Objectivism as stemming from the intellect -- of making value judgments -- and are therefore not necessarily in conflict with the intellect. As to the guilt, I never felt guilt for having been a Catholic, and I didn't go back and feel guilty for having lived as a Catholic for twenty years. There were definitely times when I have felt guilty for doing something as an Objectivist, but that had to be thought through carefully and then re-assessed.

But basically, to say that Objectivism causes all of these problems is tantamount to saying being rational will lead to psychological problems, which is an evil thing to say as a psychologist. Repression is not a good thing to do psychologically, and it can definitely lead one to not pursue personal values, which is why it is not a good thing to do, but the attempt to be rational doesn't cause repression. Repression and unnecessary guilt may well be psychological problems, but Objectivism does not say to do that anyhow qua philosophy, regardless of how wrongly one interprets Miss Rand's major characters.

So, psychological problems are not a hazard of Objectivism as a philosophy.

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.
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Ask yourself the questions

'Does Branden know more about O'ism than I do?" Could he possibly have observed cases of alienation or self repression among new or young Objectivists he personally knew?

Or was this all just 'sour grapes' on his part, in that he made it up to sabotage the philosophy?"

It's a sad thing to see a good mind close itself off, without rigorous and due thought. Among the principles that Rand stood for, independent thinking was one of her 'ultimates'.

Read some Branden (and some Kelley, for that matter) and decide for yourselves.

I've read a great deal of Nathaniel Brandon's works.

I'm also married to a psychologist.

I have made my choices in regard to NB based on my readings, my understanding of psychology and my understanding of Objectivism.

My problem with him is that he blames Objectivism for his own shortcomings.

He is promoting the notion that Objectivism causes these problems when in most cases it would seem more evident that the persons in question came to Objectivism with these problems already in place.

Edited by softwareNerd
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" ......these persons...came to Objectivism with these problems already in place."

Very true, Quo vadis. I sincerely and unironically congratulate you (and Thomas M.) on what I surmise to be healthy levels of self-esteem when you first encountered O'ism.

Have you considered the impact that Ayn Rand's novels could have on a young person who DOES have those problems in place.

As a moody and sullen youngster, with low self- esteem, I was blown away by The Fountainhead. My first impression was "see, I knew they were wrong" (all authority figures), the next was "there is a possibility of a pure, rational, and proud life. The next feeling was of despair: how could little me ever aspire to a 'Howard Roark'?

My understanding did improve of course after I quickly took in all Rand's non-fiction work, but even then, I struggled to accept, it seems now, that I deserved anything that great.

After years in a sort of private desert, a kind of nihilistic withdrawal, [with hedonistic overtones!], I slowly began turning myself around, applying myself once more, to Objectivism. I rediscovered an amazing fact - I had an Independent mind, and the hell with everyone else, now I was going to use it.

This was Ayn Rand's gift to me.

I'm getting to the starting point now [finally]. It was only after my process of self-recovery was well on its way - in the 90's - that I belatedly came upon Nathaniel Branden's ' Honoring the Self'. My immediate impression was recognition ; I knew that what he was expounding, was what I had roughly already worked out for myself; then I wished I could have his works earlier as a companion to those of Ayn Rand. Oh well.

So; it took a lot longer for me to discover the seriousness of the falling out between the two ( hey, I live in Africa!) and this I only found out in late '08, when I came onto these forums. It was very disappointing for me to see the depth of the 'schism', and I haven't yet read all the relevant books, but I do understand O'ism's distrust, after the "Hazards" essay.

Possibly, I have not much more to add except, "Don't shoot the messenger!" [N.B.],

and also that if one is about to embark on O'ism, already possessing a decent level of self-worth gives one a flying start - otherwise it can be a struggle.


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Thanks for your well measured response Tony.

I also went through some of what you went through.. the withdrawal and anger and all that when I discovered Ayn Rand at 13-14 years old. I was far from well adjusted, and didn't really have great self esteem (in conventional terms) But I responded to it maybe in a different way in that it caused me to keep trying to find the contradictions in my thinking and resolve them.

If anything I had very bad self esteem (Catholic-ugg) and at first AR's philosposhy was one I used to try to make myself into something that I thought had a right to exist. To put it simply- I was filled with self loathing (much in the style of Reardon without claiming that I am anywhere near as important or herioc a figure) and yet knew that I had no right to demand anything of anyone else to make me otherwise.

I don't know how long you've been a student of Objectivism but I know that if you follow it to its logical conclusion you will find just how wrong Nathaniel is.

"People are messed up BY Objectivism" is not the same as "messed up people sometimes find Objectivism".

Much like guns don't kill people, people kill people.

That is not to say that NB never did anything of value. I simply cannot give support to his current agenda.

I think most Objectivists go through terrible times of doubt and loneliness and longing for the simple times amongst the sheeple-especially if they find it young.

But a house with poor foundations must have the foundations utterly destroyed lest you build again on a bad foundation.

It is a painful process, but worth it.

...edited due to sloppy writing as I was taking in a fish order and writing at the same time... ;P

Edited by QuoVadis
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