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Someone I know recently noticed I owned Atlas Shrugged and commented, saying "I read that once and was a 'Randian' myself- that is, an objectivist- but later realized it was just a childish phase."

This is not the first time I have come across someone who claims to have once been objectivist but is no longer. I have strong doubts that these people ever truly understood what philosophy they claimed to follow (follow is not the correct word- I mean something closer to 'own' but cannot think of a decent word at the moment) but have never recieved a straight answer when confronting them directly. Whenever I confront them with a discussion of objectivism, they immediately make ad hominem attacks against Ayn Rand with little to no support, and refuse to continue the discussion.

Is it possible for someone to value reason and thier own life above all else and, while under that philosophy, reject reason? Perhaps these people are the Robert Stadler's of the the world and rejected what they knew to be true, but I have reason to believe that those people are much rarer than those who simply never understood at all. Am I wrong to think this; is there evidence that there is a significant amount of people who will reject reason when they encounter it?

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Someone I know recently noticed I owned Atlas Shrugged and commented, saying "I read that once and was a 'Randian' myself- that is, an objectivist- but later realized it was just a childish phase."

This is not the first time I have come across someone who claims to have once been objectivist but is no longer. I have strong doubts that these people ever truly understood what philosophy they claimed to follow (follow is not the correct word- I mean something closer to 'own' but cannot think of a decent word at the moment) but have never recieved a straight answer when confronting them directly. Whenever I confront them with a discussion of objectivism, they immediately make ad hominem attacks against Ayn Rand with little to no support, and refuse to continue the discussion.

Is it possible for someone to value reason and thier own life above all else and, while under that philosophy, reject reason? Perhaps these people are the Robert Stadler's of the the world and rejected what they knew to be true, but I have reason to believe that those people are much rarer than those who simply never understood at all. Am I wrong to think this; is there evidence that there is a significant amount of people who will reject reason when they encounter it?

It's a matter of making another turn of the screw.

If you value reason above all else then you are bound to accept the uncertainty of reality. Objectivism seems to demand certainty.

No rational person can assert that one individual was omniscient and Ayn Rand would have been the first to confirm this.

There might be other topics in this forum where the possible dogmatism of Objectivism is discussed.

I just want to remind you that by personal and alien experience I've found that deeply valuing and loving Ayn Rand's works is not mutually exclusive with being your own un-tagged self.

There are many non Objectivists who either love or see truth in Ayn Rand while professing similar but nor exactly similar views with no hostility whatsoever.

Celia Green is my favorite example. Jerome Tuccille my least favorite example (but worth a gaze)

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It's a matter of making another turn of the screw.

If you value reason above all else then you are bound to accept the uncertainty of reality. Objectivism seems to demand certainty.

No rational person can assert that one individual was omniscient and Ayn Rand would have been the first to confirm this.

There might be other topics in this forum where the possible dogmatism of Objectivism is discussed.

I just want to remind you that by personal and alien experience I've found that deeply valuing and loving Ayn Rand's works is not mutually exclusive with being your own un-tagged self.

There are many non Objectivists who either love or see truth in Ayn Rand while professing similar but nor exactly similar views with no hostility whatsoever.

Celia Green is my favorite example. Jerome Tuccille my least favorite example (but worth a gaze)

Uncertainty of reality or uncertainty of how we percieve reality? Reality is certain by the law of identity, not only because Objectivism demands it. Perhaps there are things I believe to be true based on deductions I have made that aren't, but that doesn't make reality any less certain. If reality were not certain (and therefore at least in part, not real) it would not be reality, and the premise that would be incorrect would be the original perception of reality, not reality itself.

So to clarify my original question a little bit: The person I reference is now a collectivist and is very hostile to the objectivist philosophy. Multiple times I have met nihilists and collectivists who claim to have once been objectivist. I'm not saying anyone should be omniscient, only rational and, if they find themselves to be irrational, correct his/her mistake.

If, in these people's minds, their philosophy is rational, I am not the judge of who's philosophy is correct: reality is. But this specific person is the classic case of "I know what I believe isn't rational, but that's because nothing is rational and no one can know anything." So I want to know what could possibly make a person go from objectivist to nihilist? I simply don't see it possilbe for a rational person to consiously choose the irrational, which is why I doubt the person's rationality in the first place. About half the people I know who claim to be objectivist do not live their life according to their facade of a philosophy. Most of them, in my eyes, either have a different philosophy, or don't even have one of their own in the first place (one of the drifters who will pick up any thought that "feels" right.) In your opinions, am I right here, or are there really people out there who choose a philosophy that rejects their ability to make choices with full knowledge of the implications of their choice, after having already realized the philosophy of objectivism?

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Someone I know recently noticed I owned Atlas Shrugged and commented, saying "I read that once and was a 'Randian' myself- that is, an objectivist- but later realized it was just a childish phase."

It's tough to know a particular case, but there definitely are a fair number of people who read various Rand books, including non-fiction, try to practice being Objectivists, and then give up. Dr. Peikoff has a lecture series about this, titled "Understanding Objectivism". Many people conclude that following Objectivism means they have to deny themselves something they want, or that Objectivism constrains their relationships with others, or that it is simply not relevant in their day to day life. Obviously, a current Objectivist would argue that these three are false beliefs, stemming from a misunderstanding of Objectivsm. (see here and here for more).

Edited by softwareNerd
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Eh barely anyone understand Objectivism. Those people probably liked read the Fountain Head, liked it, read the wikipedia article on Objectivism. After that they read some article about how Ayn Rand was a fan of a serial killer and cheated on her husband. Then they abandon thinking about it at all.

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Eh barely anyone understand Objectivism. Those people probably liked read the Fountain Head, liked it, read the wikipedia article on Objectivism. After that they read some article about how Ayn Rand was a fan of a serial killer and cheated on her husband. Then they abandon thinking about it at all.

This is exactly what I see most of the time.

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Uncertainty of reality or uncertainty of how we percieve reality? Reality is certain by the law of identity, not only because Objectivism demands it. Perhaps there are things I believe to be true based on deductions I have made that aren't, but that doesn't make reality any less certain. If reality were not certain (and therefore at least in part, not real) it would not be reality, and the premise that would be incorrect would be the original perception of reality, not reality itself.

Not reality as reality, but the scope of reality. It's not metaphysics, the objective nature of a real reality, that it's in doubt (in my argument) - but the uncertainty within the reality (within the universe) we live. As I said, it's another turn of the screw, way after you understand the basic premises. A youngster might be very enthusiastic about Objectivism, a geezer, like Celia Green, might reflect:

"On the face of it, there is something rather strange about human psychology. Human beings live in a state of mind called "sanity" on a small planet in space. They are not quite sure whether the space around them is infinite or not (either way it is unthinkable). If they think about time, they find it is inconceivable that it had a beginning. It is also inconceivable that it did not have a beginning. Thoughts of this kind are not disturbing to "sanity", which is obviously a remarkable phenomenon and deserves more recognition."

So to clarify my original question a little bit: The person I reference is now a collectivist and is very hostile to the objectivist philosophy. In your opinions, am I right here, or are there really people out there who choose a philosophy that rejects their ability to make choices with full knowledge of the implications of their choice, after having already realized the philosophy of objectivism?

I thought you meant those Libertarians that used to be Objectivists. In your specific example I assume that your acquaintance either never understood Ayn Rand, misunderstood her, or actually did understand Ayn Rand but eventually ceded to evil (for supposed practical reasons like laziness). Here's another Celia Green quote on older people's behavior:

"Young people wonder how the adult world can be so boring. The secret is that it is not boring to adults because they have learnt to enjoy simple things like covert malice at one another's expense. This is why they talk so much about the value of human understanding and sympathy. It has a certain rarity value in their world."

Of course there are people who are both benevolent and understand Ayn Rand but, like Ayn Rand, don't like groups, clubs or "collctives", unless they head them.

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The solution is that they are not Objectivists.

You're giving them too much credit, as if they were brilliant logic-freak philosopher who found a contradiction in your beloved system of Objectivism.

They are simply open-minded children who can stand radicalism Ayn Rand's fiction (particularly The Fountainhead), sense the greatness of the philosophy but do not understand it explicitly nor change the way of their lives.

Since they are still in the context of the open-mind, they can appreciate anything without a clear-consistent standard, they believe that there are many opinions in the world and that you can justify any of them with the right rhetoric, and thus they do not make any explicit enough separation between writers such as Rand and Marx as two rationally-reasoned authors.

When they notice the first explicit argument against Objectivism with which they cannot deal, they "realize": "Oh, you're all right, I was wrong and childish and egoistic all that time," and the freed private was returned back to the realm of the enemy.

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The solution is that they are not Objectivists.

You're giving them too much credit, as if they were brilliant logic-freak philosopher who found a contradiction in your beloved system of Objectivism.

They are simply open-minded children who can stand radicalism Ayn Rand's fiction (particularly The Fountainhead), sense the greatness of the philosophy but do not understand it explicitly nor change the way of their lives.

Since they are still in the context of the open-mind, they can appreciate anything without a clear-consistent standard, they believe that there are many opinions in the world and that you can justify any of them with the right rhetoric, and thus they do not make any explicit enough separation between writers such as Rand and Marx as two rationally-reasoned authors.

When they notice the first explicit argument against Objectivism with which they cannot deal, they "realize": "Oh, you're all right, I was wrong and childish and egoistic all that time," and the freed private was returned back to the realm of the enemy.

This is the kind of answer I was looking for. Though I didn't suggest they had found a contradiction in my philosophy, I couldn't pinpoint the reason for the reversal. Thank you for giving me perspective on their behavior.

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