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StrictlyLogical

Objectivism, as such, is not activism, nor should it be

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Of course some Objectivists, choose to be activists for the philosophy, but that in no way means the philosophy itself IS activist, and people interested in the philosophy should not think that it is.

 

In considering Objectivism as a whole, I am confronted with distractions... not in the form of ideas, but in the form of personalities, of movements, of factions... and yes, a little bit of activism.  Rather than looking outward and inward to my center.. I find myself sliding my eyes sideways at metaphorical others... whose presences, in the realm of my engagement with ideas, are inappropriate and unwelcome.

As time goes by, I become more keenly aware that to my mind, philosophy is not FOR society even though the act of instituting a correct political system IS for society AND such is contingent upon the political philosophy of the individuals instituting it, philosophy (even political philosophy) pertains to knowledge which, although referring to things like societies,  in the end is something only attributable to an individual's brain and wholly dependent upon self-responsibility to properly attain.  [I realize colloquially, recorded information societies have collected are referred to as knowledge... but no collective brain contains a dusty room in which those old pages are kept... and I am not using the term knowledge in this loose sense]

I see many persons, institutes, and even Rand herself at times, was activist in the sense that there is an urgency to share which is a direct reaction to the state of others' actual or perceived ignorance.  There is a sense of a battle, as Leonard Peikoff put it, between Aristotle and Plato.   This desire to correct, to fix minds out there, runs through it all ... and this was no different in myself.  But early on I began to feel it was wrong, and I gravitated toward the idea (emphasized also in Objectivism) that philosophy serves the individual who choses life... and that it is essential to have the correct philosophy to understand reality and act in furtherance of one's life.

Life is not about preaching to others... no matter how much I wish the others did not think or feel as they do.

 

Somehow, with the ever increasing insanity in the world, I am seeing SO much more clearly that philosophy is a deeply personal thing, and I find myself wishing for an Objectivist writer who could take the reader on a journey through ideas which is focused on the positive substance thereof rather than the negative absences or flaws in other schools of thought.  One who focuses overwhelmingly on what Objectivism IS rather than what it is not, and one who shows what is correct while relying very little on differentiating it from what is wrong.  One who does, by way of the occasional warning, point out pitfalls of wrong thinking but shrugs them off, one who warns of vice throughout the world but with a feeling that "it only goes so deep".  One who makes the reader really feel the sanctity of one's own life as paramount, and any desire to influence or persuade others as not even secondary but only remotely moderately important.  [Ironically, such a writer, insofar as they perfectly hold philosophy as primarily personal, might only be interested in studying philosophy and accordingly have no motivation to write about it at all.]

A reader with such a sense of the sanctity of one's own life, would have no desire to convince anyone else of anything... would not flinch at the utterance of even the most absurd of irrationalities, certainly not out of any insecurity or fear of any mismatch with others' ideas.  Of course, as with all things, philosophy is a subject which one wishes to share with others he values and cherishes, and to the extent of that intimacy, it is natural to wish to have that play and engagement with something common to both.  But the idea that one needs to have common ideas with people generally in society is not tenable, and probably never has been.

My sports friends need not like the same music I do, nor my concert going friends like the same visual art I do... and if they say something as ridiculous as I hear in the fake news, on youtube, or the Twitverse, it should affect me no more than a 4 year old calling me a "poopy head"...  I'll smile and redirect the interaction...

"oh really... say, you like icecream don't you?"...

"ha... hey that reminds me .. do you still like that quarterback playing for..." 

"thanks for sharing... hey, what do you think of the edge control used in the shadows of this portrait... isn't it sublime?"

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I recall parsing Reason in Rhyme: A Philosophic Oratorio for an exact wording before it was published.

More recently, How Teaching Benefits Teachers recapped something many instructors who excel in their fields have come to understand.

SpaceX Shows the Way Forward: Let Private Industry Take the Lead in Space looks to current events and accentuates many positive lights to it.

Craig was looking for writers, and ideas of where to take his venture. One of the ideas tendered were important dates from different perspectives. The signing of the Magna Carta, birthdays of significant contributors to human flourishing. As it has pushed forward, it has included Les Paul, The Man Who Electrified Music

Does this make Craig an activist?

Beyond the recent SpaceX launch, the spread of the CoViD-19 reveals what is buried beneath many of the nay-sayers. Look at the number of enterprises that have continued to be able to operate in the midst of this. Automation? Or just individuals that are being exploited by their employers put their heath at risk for the altruistic sake of their fellow human beings?

The internet, teleophone/cell service, electricity, natural gas, mail delivery, trash disposal, have proceeded to provide services without managing to supplant the CoViD-19 or the more recent George Floyd coverage on the six o'clock news (not to make light of either, just to underscore the point here.)

One could ask to what is the underlying stability due to? Is it, in fact, the better aspects of philosophy that paved the way for Miss Rand to use as a solid foundation for the edifice she built atop of it?

 

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12 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

One could ask to what is the underlying stability due to? Is it, in fact, the better aspects of philosophy that paved the way for Miss Rand to use as a solid foundation for the edifice she built atop of it?

Rand was particularly intelligent capable of wide integration and profoundly first handed.  A character like that and to such a degree is one in billions, and being what she was, could not help but identify, often simultaneously, what was the truth of the matter and of those that came before her who did and who did not tend to see it.

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22 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Rand was particularly intelligent capable of wide integration and profoundly first handed.  A character like that and to such a degree is one in billions, and being what she was, could not help but identify, often simultaneously, what was the truth of the matter and of those that came before her who did and who did not tend to see it.

Fine accolades, yet my questions was what upheld things through shutting down the economy, or extensive parts thereof, around the globe?

I neglected to add Amazon to the earlier list of benefactors as well.

Was the 'glue' technology? Automation of assembly processes? Was it mostly Aristotelian common sense? Given the % of the population that could be said to embrace Objectivism,  Rand's writings have a way to go before being identified as a leading cause of this magnitude, I think.

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33 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

Fine accolades, yet my questions was what upheld things through shutting down the economy, or extensive parts thereof, around the globe?

I neglected to add Amazon to the earlier list of benefactors as well.

Was the 'glue' technology? Automation of assembly processes? Was it mostly Aristotelian common sense? Given the % of the population that could be said to embrace Objectivism,  Rand's writings have a way to go before being identified as a leading cause of this magnitude, I think.

I see now I quoted too much.  I was only speculating on Rand and how much of the way was actually “paved for her”... 

“you didn’t build that”

 

As for why so many infrastructure systems remained operational, if they weren’t forced by government to lockdown/close down... why would they?  

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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8 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I see now I quoted too much.  I was only speculating on Rand and how much of the way was actually “paved for her”... 

“you didn’t build that”

It isn't the "you didn't build that", as much as her identification that every idea had to be originated by someone. In ITOE she broke down how men acquire language into three broad categories, those who looked for the clear connections to the aspects of reality they pertained to, those who essentially parroted what they spoke, and those who performed a mixture of the two approaches. For those who build the clear connections, "you didn't build that" ought not apply.

The political 'activism' seen expressed today as captured by the eye of many a camera, is not one of individuals looking for clear cut connections to the aspect of reality for which they pertain. Having attended a few rallies in life, it clarified that the information gatherers and those who disseminate it as well as those who gathered are not necessarily in sync.

8 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

As for why so many infrastructure systems remained operational, if they weren’t forced by government to lockdown/close down... why would they?  

It need not be more complex than that. Even the application of this expression of force need be particularized.

Edited by dream_weaver

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2 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

It need not be more complex than that. Even the application of this expression of force need be particularized.

When it comes down to it, people in power are not wholly irrational, not wholly blind to causation and reality, when they consider and decide the manner in which they will impose tyranny...

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Sight of Superlative Achievement

PS: REBIRTH OF REASON is reborn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SL, your root post for this thread is so right. The greatest value of Rand's philosophy and her literature has been and will be personal uplift, not political reform or debating with her competitors. In her book Anthem, the decision by Prometheus near the end to liberate some other people back at the community of his origin is set out as entirely secondary to the precious thing and way of life Prometheus has found. Similarly, The Fountainhead does not end with Roark's courtroom soliloquy, but with Dominique rising to him on the lift--"Then there was only the ocean and the sky and the figure of Howard Roark." I read Atlas Shrugged all-through three times in three years when I was a young man (ten years after it was published). It was not for the sake of political inspiration or confrontation with false ideas that I returned to read it that second and third time.

Edited by dream_weaver
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41 minutes ago, Boydstun said:

Boydstun... did you mean to link to the same thread twice?

Thank you, your words resonate.

 

In the series Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell says (and I am paraphrasing) the myths don't teach how to "change the system" but how to live in it as a human being.  In Joe's context and study, Myths are metaphors which are true in specific senses, not in their denotation, but in their connation, true of something about being human and of our potentialities.

I think Rand's stories, in particular when she "shows" rather than "tells", are metaphorical of the hero potential within us all, but a hero who embraces the vitality of one's own life and flourishing.  Joe also says that living the best to one's potential is one of the best ways to save the world... "a vital life vitalizes".

 

[PS: @dream_weaver: thank you!]

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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I got the second link fixed OK now.

It has seemed to me that myths also help people stay afloat and not totally despair in the circumstance of personal pains and horrors, particularly the deaths of their loved ones or their own coming death. Last January my younger sister died, and on her Facebook page, when her March birthday came round, some of her friends would write things like “Happy Birthday in heaven, Helen.”

It is now 30 years to the day that my first life-partner died. We had been together for 22 years. For the first 20 years after his death, I would go at sunrise on this day of the year to the spot on the lake where I had spread his ashes a couple of weeks after his death. I would spread peonie blooms onto the water, wait for the sun to rise out of the lake, and read either the Mackay poem Morgen (Tomorrow) in German or the Auden poem Lullaby. It was a ritual in which I was especially in touch with him.

We were not supernaturalists, and I’m still just nature. But there was what I thought of as something of a myth-making part of my mind within the overall rational governance there. It was a way, just an image, of him continuing in perfect peace, and with animal companions, until I come to him. Mythic. There is a poem about that and its evolution called “The Castle” in the thread My Verses.

His Day.jpg

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On 6/16/2020 at 11:05 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

. . .

Somehow, with the ever increasing insanity in the world, I am seeing SO much more clearly that philosophy is a deeply personal thing, and I find myself wishing for an Objectivist writer who could take the reader on a journey through ideas which is focused on the positive substance thereof rather than the negative absences or flaws in other schools of thought.  One who focuses overwhelmingly on what Objectivism IS rather than what it is not, and one who shows what is correct while relying very little on differentiating it from what is wrong. . . .

There is one nonfiction book going along those lines, and that is Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. The Dedication of the book, which is to his daughter, speaks only of his hope that the philosophy set out in the book will guide her life. He deliberately pushes comparisons with other philosophies to definite margins, and these are few and small. This contrasts markedly with his other two books The Ominous Parallels and The DIM Hypothesis. I enjoy all these and the various things they address, but the focus on the positive in OPAR is a nice thing to enjoy of it.

One nice thing for me in presentations concerning Objectivism was that after the split between Rand and Branden, the castings and recastings of people in the world into deep dark and light psychological types and mixtures of such types dwindled and disappeared. There was little to nothing of that negativity (and beyond-the-pale speculation) in writings of Peikoff, Gotthelf, or Kelley---good for them.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS

Barbara Branden once remarked in an online post that she found OPAR dry. Similarly, Nathaniel Branden, in a video interview made pretty late in his life, said yes, he thought the book a good representation of Objectivism, but too dry. I mentioned to Barbara in that thread that I didn’t find it dry at all. It is captivating to me. But there are different degrees of the personal in which a philosophy book can be written. Descartes’ Meditations is probably the tops on that, it captivates the novice to philosophy today as ever.*

Edited by Boydstun

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On ‎6‎/‎18‎/‎2020 at 10:50 AM, Boydstun said:

There is one nonfiction book going along those lines, and that is Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. The Dedication of the book, which is to his daughter, speaks only of his hope that the philosophy set out in the book will guide her life. He deliberately pushes comparisons with other philosophies to definite margins, and these are few and small. This contrasts markedly with his other two books The Ominous Parallels and The DIM Hypothesis. I enjoy all these and the various things they address, but the focus on the positive in OPAR is a nice thing to enjoy of it.

One nice thing for me in presentations concerning Objectivism was that after the split between Rand and Branden, the castings and recastings of people in the world into deep dark and light psychological types and mixtures of such types dwindled and disappeared. There was little to nothing of that negativity (and beyond-the-pale speculation) in writings of Peikoff, Gotthelf, or Kelley---good for them.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS

Barbara Branden once remarked in an online post that she found OPAR dry. Similarly, Nathaniel Branden, in a video interview made pretty late in his life, said yes, he thought the book a good representation of Objectivism, but too dry. I mentioned to Barbara in that thread that I didn’t find it dry at all. It is captivating to me. But there are different degrees of the personal in which a philosophy book can be written. Descartes’ Meditations is probably the tops on that, it captivates the novice to philosophy today as ever.*

This question rears its head once again... and perhaps its root cause lies in what we intuitively conceive knowledge as consisting of... but again there seems to be a desire by many laypersons and contemplative persons, to have "philosophy" refer to more than the study or science of enlightenment or Cartesian knowledge, but to refer something wider, including ... for lack of better wording... all "knowledges" and "awarenesses" of all things which touch upon human experience. This thing, is the thing they think "philosophy" is or should be directed at...  

I tend to think philosophy is narrower... and although I vacillate from time to time... are those other "knowledges" and "awarenesses" touching upon our experience, properly specialized pursuits, or is philosophy more than the science of knowledge?  IS the study of the nature of man more specialized... i.e.  ARE ethics, and politics, although historically "branches" of philosophy properly specialized studies based on Sophia but not as such included in the ambit of the study of Her?

I vacillate yet again...

 

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