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Ayn Rand - Buried not Cremated

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This has been bothering me for awhile.

Why was Ayn buried rather than cremated? Doesn't burial presuppose a belief in the next life  (resurrection)? I know Miss Rand was not a believer and neither was Mr. O'Conner buried next to her. I find brial inconsistant with Objectivism. Was she following convention? She hardly did that all her life! Did she want to create a monument to herself for people to visit? I hardly think that is the answer or what she would desire. What do you think?-

The Collectivist

Edited by softwareNerd
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DW

Don't you think this was an evasion by Piekoff? Miss Rand railed aganist monument building in one of her essay's. I can't figure this one out other than the fact she may have been a "closet believer" This would be very disappointing to me as a student of Objectivism-No?

No, he didn't evade the specific question about atheism. Some religions bury their dead, others burn them, while a few leave the bodies to the birds. Christian burial reflects traditional custom. Any link to Christian doctrine -- e.g. by saying burial keeps the body intact for resurrection -- is a rationalization of the traditional custom. 

Now, "monument building" is something different. Following tradition is something different still, but the question in that show did not ask about those. On "monument building", I think you're remembering the essay incorrectly. [Chapter 11 of "Virtue of Selfishness" is titled "The Monument Builders", if you want to check the reference. It got nothing to do with the rightness of building monuments to memorialize people or events.

So, we're left with the third: tradition. As you say, she didn't follow every tradition! Yet, from various things, we know that there were traditions she liked. There's no reason to think Rand followed tradition merely because it was tradition. it's reasonable to conclude that she liked the idea of having a grave-site to memorialize her and her husband... as Peikoff says: a concrete place where friends and family could visit when they wished.

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But leaving a grave-site memorial would lead some into irrational personality cult worship similar to what has happened to the grave-site of Karl Marx in England. I'm sure Miss Rand would ahor anything similar ( or perhaps that's precisely why she insisted on a burial!) Having seen the site, I would agree it is simple and dignified but I am still stuck that after all Ayn wrote that she would insist on following a tradition so empty and meaningless. I certainly would have contributed for somethng greater in (maybe) a plaza in her beloved New York! What do you rhink?

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The monument building she railed against was against government doing so at the taxpayers expense, i.e., pyramids, coliseums and palaces.

I don't recall when I first heard the notion that funerals are for the living, It is generally how I think of it. It is an event where people, having a common acquaintance, gather together and exchange memories. I've attended open casket, closed casket and where the urn was given its own setting. I have never observed the "guest of honor" to complain.

Miss Rand's funeral service was most likely of a secular nature, and I would imagine a separate service may have been held for those who had known and worked most closely with her over the years, but this is conjecture based on having been to a few services of more notable people I have known.

The only grave sites I've re-visited have been family, and most of the time when I was with family that had planned the trip while I was still under my parents care. So in a sense, Peikoff's explanation of being in the vicinity of what remains of her physically sounds plausible to me.

 

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But leaving a grave-site memorial would lead some into irrational personality cult worship similar to what has happened to the grave-site of Karl Marx in England. I'm sure Miss Rand would ahor anything similar ( or perhaps that's precisely why she insisted on a burial!) Having seen the site, I would agree it is simple and dignified but I am still stuck that after all Ayn wrote that she would insist on following a tradition so empty and meaningless. I certainly would have contributed for somethng greater in (maybe) a plaza in her beloved New York! What do you rhink?

Even if there's a personality cult around Rand at any point, I doubt her grave would play a significant role. The same for Marx.

Have you seen the site in person? [I know Find a grave has an entry]

A statue in NYC would be cool... perhaps some day a hundred years hence! [Though a place so accessible could lead to a personality cult, no? ;) ]

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DW

Don't you think this was an evasion by Piekoff? Miss Rand railed aganist monument building in one of her essay's. I can't figure this one out other than the fact she may have been a "closet believer" This would be very disappointing to me as a student of Objectivism-No?

No. It wasn't an evasion, no, she never railed against monument building, no, she wasn't a closet believer, and no, your hypothetical isn't be disappointing because it's not true.

Edited by Nicky
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Honestly, my first thought is that she probably gave it little thought. To Rand, death was the basically equivalent to the world ending. "I will not die, it is the world that will end."

I've been an Atheist my whole life, and I always figured I would get buried. This is the first I've even heard of burial having any mystical significance.

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