Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Is collectivism necessary?

Rate this topic


Guest ZAC D.

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 59
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Now, however, I am confused. If you changed your mind and agree with Rand's "collectivism," what is it that you are now asking about?

What if Ayn rand is wrong and you're really just joining her from of collectivism that would be just as destructive as any cult?

Link to post
Share on other sites

So wouldn't you have to agree then the collective mind does exist?

A collective mind suggests that there is only one thought process which is made up of more than one people doing the collective thinking.

A computer can have multiple processors - those processors are all part of one system and in such a configuration, each processor is slaved to a master controlling process which dictates to each processor what it will "think" about (process) and when. Neither processor is truly free to determine it's own course - they are all subject to the master control process. THAT is a collective mind.

That is not at all how human minds operate. Two people working together on a problem are not a *collective* - they are two individuals engaged in their own thought processes independently, but also SHARING information with each other to some extent. Each person can independently choose how much information to share or withhold. They are still individuals. There is no "collective consciousness". There are simply two people acting as a partnership.

And that is not a collective mind at all.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What if Ayn rand is wrong and you're really just joining her from of collectivism that would be just as destructive as any cult?

You're apparently assuming that we have simply adopted Ms. Rand's teachings as true, as opposed to actually examining the elements of her philosophy and determining their validity to our own satisfaction.

We are not a religion. We do not take answers on faith even when they don't make sense to us. We have only one Commandment, and that one is self imposed: THINK. We command ourselves to use our brains to observe, evaluate and draw conclusions based only in reality.

So if you can actually prove Ms. Rand wrong on any aspect of her fundamental premises or her subsequent conclusions, we would have to accept your proof.

Good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What if Ayn rand is wrong and you're really just joining her from of collectivism that would be just as destructive as any cult?

That's a nice "what if" - now back it up with some evidence. Show Ayn Rand is wrong. Show that we've turned off our rational faculty and simply assumed on faith her philosophy. Show any of that.

Edited by brian0918
Link to post
Share on other sites

So if I subjugate my will to an objectivist group am I a collectivist?

Yes.

I think alot of people used their independent judgment to join communism no?

Probably, but then supporting the principles of communism requires putting yourself second and ultimately putting the group - the collective - first.

I don't really think this is a serious topic at all. You defined none of your terms.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Zac it's pretty clear you're just arguing for the sake of arguing at this point... Numerous people have made it entirely clear what the true definition of collectivism is and that nothing that falls under that correct definition is morally acceptable according to Objectivism. Nothing that you have said has even come close to proving that collectivism can be good or necessary... If you have any legitimate points to make feel free. Aside from that your arguments so far have been irrelevant and poorly devised.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No i'm not arguing just to argue. Alot of this just isn't clear to me.

I can see your point about anti-social and un-social but I get confused

when rand says something like that and then says captialism isn't immoral or amoral but moral.

A collective mind suggests that there is only one thought process which is made up of more than one people doing the collective thinking.

A computer can have multiple processors - those processors are all part of one system and in such a configuration, each processor is slaved to a master controlling process which dictates to each processor what it will "think" about (process) and when. Neither processor is truly free to determine it's own course - they are all subject to the master control process. THAT is a collective mind.

That is not at all how human minds operate. Two people working together on a problem are not a *collective* - they are two individuals engaged in their own thought processes independently, but also SHARING information with each other to some extent. Each person can independently choose how much information to share or withhold. They are still individuals. There is no "collective consciousness". There are simply two people acting as a partnership.

I understand what you are saying but I don't think you are acknowledging the fact that a collective mind exists. I think socialism is a concrete example of it. Moreover, aren't Free markets, democracy and the freeway all examples of collective decision making? I think it is important to distinguish between that and communism or oligarchy where the decision making is restricted to a small group of people.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I understand what you are saying but I don't think you are acknowledging the fact that a collective mind exists.

Again, what is your definition of "collective mind"? You seem to be ignoring replies to your posts, as this has been asked of you repeatedly.

As I stated before, literally speaking, a mind cannot be part of a collective because each person can only use his own mind, and cannot operate someone else's. If, instead, you are referring to the building of knowledge over time, through generations, that is not a "collective mind" but is a "building upon prior knowledge." If you are referring to cooperation through mutual exchange (free markets), that is also not a "collective mind." You really need to be precise about which terms you are using to denote which concepts.

Concerning an Ayn Rand "cult," you can use the forum search function for thorough refutations. Briefly, a cult is particularly the most absurd and insulting thing to call Rand's philosophy, as Objectivism's foundation explicitly emphasizes the primary of one's own thinking mind.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So if I subjugate my will to an objectivist group am I a collectivist?

Yes, the premises of your actions are collectivist.

I think alot of people used their independent judgment to join communism no?

Yes. They supported collectivism, which makes them "collectivists" in one sense, but not the sense we've been talking about. Call them collectivists in results but not in method, perhaps.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand what you are saying but I don't think you are acknowledging the fact that a collective mind exists. I think socialism is a concrete example of it. Moreover, aren't Free markets, democracy and the freeway all examples of collective decision making? I think it is important to distinguish between that and communism or oligarchy where the decision making is restricted to a small group of people.

The point of the collective brain thing is simply that it's not possible for one man to do another man's thinking for him. Collective decision making has very little to do with that. Each person still either thinks for himself, or gives up thinking and accepts what others say, but nowhere is there one thinking mechanism directly influencing more than one person.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A group of people working together for mutual gain =/= collectivism. That’s individuals working together for their own, individual benefit. A group of people working together for the sake of “the group” where anybody at any time may be sacrificed for the alleged good of improving some statistical average in “the group” = collectivism. Collectivism isn’t concerned about benefits to individuals - any particular individual is expendable - it only is concerned with group averages.

If you still have questions on this subject, please don't post again without defining some terms you have been asked to define. Without knowing what you mean, it is easy for points to get missed entirely. Particularly, define what you've been thinking "collectivism" means (and if it isn't what we mean, than just learning what we mean by the term should clear up what the Objectivist arguments involving the term "collectivism" actually meant that you didn't understand before) and some things like "group think" and/or "collective mind." Continued failure to define your terms is counterproductive and suspicious at best.

Furthermore, as for the cult claim, Objectivism as a system of ideas supports thinking for oneself for the sake of oneself. That is antithetical to being a cult. If you need more on this topic, I'm sure it has been discussed before and you can probably find more on why claims of it being a cult are just ridiculous garbage via the search function. That is really a whole other topic in itself, too much of a distraction from the original question.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Zac, when you speak of the "collective mind" are you thinking of something along the lines of the Borg Collective? You would have to know just by observing your own thoughts (at least I hope) that such a think is absurd and impossible. Or are you imagining some sort of emergent property involving the various thought of individuals that somehow, somewhere merge into, I don't know, call them meta-thoughts or ideas? I'm just trying to understand like a few others what you think a "collective mind" would consist of?

Most of these threads have been repetitive the last few years and not worth replying to but for some reason it piques my interest as to why someone would believe such a thing as a collective mind exists when all his thoughts have been his alone his whole life? Or again, I hope so.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I claim that the "collective mind" exists I don't mean that someone else literally does the thinking for that person via neural functions. What I mean is Collective consciousness:the shared beliefs and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society. Durkheimian social theory: "in traditional/primitive societies (those based around clan, family or tribal relationships) totemic religion played an important role in uniting members through the creation of a common consciousness (conscience collective in the original French). In societies of this type, the contents of an individual's consciousness are largely shared in common with all other members of their society, creating a mechanical solidarity through mutual likeness."

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:"describe how the combined coherence in consciousness of a group of people could have an influence on the rest of society."

Richard dawkins: "The answer is that interconnectedness that is sufficiently fast blurs the distinction. A human society would effectively become one individual if we could read each other’s thoughts through direct, high speed, brain-to-brain radio transmission. Something like that may eventually meld the various units that constitute the Internet.Hopefully the fittest & most useful (as opposed to the most amusing) will survive, and the result will be a set of sites and services that will facilitate true collective intelligence and collaborative action to move humanity forward, pulling we overstimulated and distracted individuals along with it."

Edited by ZAC D.
Link to post
Share on other sites

When I claim that the "collective mind" exists I don't mean that someone else literally does the thinking for that person via neural functions. What I mean is Collective consciousness:the shared beliefs and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society. Durkheimian social theory: "in traditional/primitive societies (those based around clan, family or tribal relationships) totemic religion played an important role in uniting members through the creation of a common consciousness (conscience collective in the original French). In societies of this type, the contents of an individual's consciousness are largely shared in common with all other members of their society, creating a mechanical solidarity through mutual likeness."

Then you do not mean "collective mind" but "shared values". The definition you give itself provides the answer to your question: "In societies of this type, the contents of an individual's consciousness are largely shared in common with all other members of their society, creating a mechanical solidarity through mutual likeness."

Largely is a qualifier recognizes the autonomy of the individual consciousness. As for "All other members" - suffice it to say that this is an absolute claim which is not supported by reality. It is demonstrably true that even in the smallest families, it is possible for one individual to hold extremely different values from the rest of the members of the family. The response of the family or clan or society in such cases where individualism is considered secondary to the collective is to destroy the difference or to force it into suppression, rather than to respect it. That the "collective" must remove any hint of dissension by force demonstrates that the collective is not real, but instead a sham that is constituted by the tyranny of the majority.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:"describe how the combined coherence in consciousness of a group of people could have an influence on the rest of society."

This appears to be a non sequitor - but perhaps you intended the Dawkins quote to be the response to the question?

Richard dawkins: "The answer is that interconnectedness that is sufficiently fast blurs the distinction. A human society would effectively become one individual if we could read each other’s thoughts through direct, high speed, brain-to-brain radio transmission. Something like that may eventually meld the various units that constitute the Internet.Hopefully the fittest & most useful (as opposed to the most amusing) will survive, and the result will be a set of sites and services that will facilitate true collective intelligence and collaborative action to move humanity forward, pulling we overstimulated and distracted individuals along with it."

This is speculative. Assuming the yogi question was the lead in question, the question is a "COULD HAVE" not a "IS". It is a hypothetical, and Dawkins is speculating on what might occur through technology. That would, indeed, be a collective mind, but no such mind exists.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The idea behind the Dawkins quote is actually quite frightening, even if just because it's so plausible. Hopefully, if such technology ever does become available, it will be done intelligently and safely... although in the current trend of technology that doesn't seem likely

Link to post
Share on other sites

You made alot of sense greebro thanks for hepling me understand a little better just what a collective mind is.

It is demonstrably true that even in the smallest families, it is possible for one individual to hold extremely different values from the rest of the members of the family.

Would this go for Communist groups and objectivist groups as well? Is this why we see infighting within groups like the Taliban when it comes to Islamic goals?

Link to post
Share on other sites

The idea behind the Dawkins quote is actually quite frightening, even if just because it's so plausible. Hopefully, if such technology ever does become available, it will be done intelligently and safely... although in the current trend of technology that doesn't seem likely

Interesting reply. How is it plausible? When do you think it could be feasible?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...