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The Discipline of Happiness

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With the world swirling around us in spasms of seemingly inexplicable irrationality, it does the soul good to recall that happiness is ours to develop and maintain, with this is mind, I want to include this annoucement from Devers Branden.

Best Regards,

R. Christian Ross

Webmaster-NathanielBranden.com

********************************************

The Discipline of Happiness

A five-day workshop with Devers Branden

June 13-18, 2004

Esalen Institute

Big Sur, California

This second-time program is largely experiential, offering a variety of processes aimed at developing greater self-understanding, learning to live more consciously, growing in self-esteem -- and clearing obstacles to that natural state of happiness that is our birthright. Rejecting the notion that it is external factors that determine our happiness or unhappiness, we will look at the mental processes within ourselves that generate feelings of well-being -- or the opposite. In exploring our subpersonalities we will see which parts of ourselves sabotage our efforts to create a fulfilling life. Our unrecognized or disowned and rejected sub-selves play a major role in our unhappiness. Integrating subpersonality work with sentence-completion work and Energy Psychology techniques we will learn how to heal the psychic wounds that keep us trapped in negativity. Also, I will teach my mirror technique for integrating the outer and inner selves. We know that people who are predominately happy process their everyday experience differently from people who are predominately unhappy; they live from different "life scripts" that generate different self-fulfilling prophecies. There is a discipline to being happy and it is the basic purpose of this workshop to understand that discipline and learn to practice it.

About Devers Branden: Devers Branden is a teacher of self-esteem, a personal development consultant, a corporate coach, and the co-author, with Nathaniel Branden, of The Romantic Love Question-and-Answer Book. In addition she has led many workshops with Nathaniel Branden on self-esteem, man/woman relationships, and personal development. She has done pioneering work in relating the field of subpersonalities and mirror work to self-esteem.

Recommended reading: Nathaniel Branden's The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem.

This program will be conducted June 13-18, 2004 at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. For information, call (831) 667-3000 or fax (831) 667-2724.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Note from Dr. Branden (from the introduction to Taking Responcibility):

As I approached my sixty-first birthday a few years ago, I found myself thinking a good deal about the subject of happiness and about making its attainment my conscious purpose. At that time, I was embarking on a project that had the potential to generate a good deal of stress, and I was determined that my daily mood and the harmony of my marriage not be adversely affected.

I thought about my wife, Devers, (now my ex-wife, but my best and closest friend), who is the most consistently happy human being I have ever known, as well as one of the most self-sufficient. When I met her I felt that I had never encountered anyone for whom joy was more her "nature." Yet her life had not been easy. Widowed at twenty-four, she was left to raise two small children with very little money and no one to help her. When we met, she had been single for many years, had achieved success in a number of jobs, and never spoke of past struggles with any hint of self-pity. I saw her hit by disappointing experiences from time to time, saw her sad or muted for a few hours (rarely longer than a day), then saw her bounce back to her natural state of joy without any evidence of denial or repression. It took me some time to fully believe what I was seeing: that her happiness was real-and larger than any adversity.

When I would ask her about her resilience, she would say, "I'm committed to being happy." And she added, "That takes self-discipline." She also had a habit I thought unusual: She almost never went to sleep at night without taking time to review everything good in her life; those were typically her last thoughts of the day. I thought this was an important clue to what I wanted to understand about the psychology of happiness.

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Nate the Great admits Devers forced her way into Ayn Rand's apartment. Then wouldn't leave until she delivered a speech. Thats from someone who's married to her! Nate then laughs about putting the idea of going to Ayn in her (D's) head, showing he STILL manipulates people.

The happiness of force. She'll show how to push women in their 70s around.

Didn't she also rearrange the furniture in her house so she could communicate with other life forms?

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It is rather amusing how flexible you've been with the word "force" in your above reply, especially in light of the fact that this is supposed to be an Objectivist forum; you've bent the meaning of the word nicely to suit your personal purposes.

If you knew anything about Ayn Rand, then you would readily realize that no one, least of all, a Devers Branden, would be able to "force" their way into her apartment--without a gun in hand.

But, I wouldn't want to shatter your precious illusions of the "victimization" and "manipulation" of Ayn Rand.

:pimp:

Best,

RCR

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I know the story of Devers Branden's meeting with Ayn Rand quite well, and as I already mentioned, "force" is quite a wild distortion of language, as is "manipulation"....

I don't suppose I need remind you that words have meaning. The definition of "Force" entails much more than leaning against a doorway.

Perhaps, you will take a moment or two to educate your self on the actual happenings of that day and the follow up meetings, or perhaps not; as I am sure you are aware, the choice is yours.

http://www.nathanielbranden.com/ayn/ayn04.html

RCR

:)

"I like the fact that you are not afraid of me."---Ayn Rand

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From "The passages cut from judgement day" by Nate the Great. This is him reading from the text that was cut. The tape is from the viewpoint of Deavers relating to Nate what happened.

Deavers goes to Ayn Rand's building around 12:30 and told the doorman

she was a journalist [Lie] who had an appointment [Lie] with AR. Gets onto the sixth floor and waits an hour and a half. Ayn comes home and sticks the key in the door, up runs Deavers. She identifies herself and wants to talk.

"The door of the apartment was now half open and I moved in slightly, blocking

her from entering, and I leaned against the entrance with an air of authority and said I had come here on my own and you knew nothing about it." Remember this is Nate qouting his wife.

After this back and forth, Deavers gets in when Ayn was "looking disoriented."

Nate's quote of Deavers, "To establish my presence more firmly, I immediately took off my coat." Nate then discribes his wife walking around the apartment like she's on a tour and even going into Ayn refrigerator and pouring her self a drink without asking.

Even Barbara Branden heard about the attack of Deavers. In Passion of AR p.398-399. Quoting Ayn Rand. "I was coming home one day and I found a woman standing in front of my apartment door who said she was Nathan's wife. I let her in because she insisted; there were people in the hall, and I didn't want a public scene. She talked some nonsense..." You get the idea.

Back to Nate's tape. Deaver's then starts harassing Ayn by phone. The last call is on September 25, 1981. This is at Nate's request because he has heard people say Ayn is descibing Deavers as this "terrible women who is bothering me" and "making such a pest of herself." Nate said he'll tape the conversation[isn't that illegal?].

Now you have Nate quoting his wife, Barbara quoting Ayn Rand and Nate quoting his mutual friends saying Ayn thinks Deavers is "terrible" and "a pest."

Does Deavers even have any qualifications? Other then knowing Nate, who really can't call himself a psychologist.

Oh, by the way, that smile face your using is saying your a "pimp." I don't think thats what you mean.

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Oh, by the way, that smile face you're using is saying you're a "pimp." I don't think thats what you mean.

Considering that all his postings here are promoting Nathaniel Branden ... I wouldn't be so sure. ;-)

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:huh: WOW! LOL.

You try to do something nice....and spread a word or two....

You really are too much. Good god almighty...you are clearly *very deeply* invested in your distain for Nathaniel Branden, ah well, poor WGD. I'll just let you stew in that pot.

In the future, I'll certainly keep in mind that the level of reality-evasion is at def con 10 here, and that words don't really have to mean what they mean as long as they are some kind of smear against an "enemy", as well as, the remarkably childish attitudes I've encounted in my few visits to this place.

It constantly amuses me how completely unattached to reality some "Objectivists" can be. It really is larf. :wacko:

:pimp:

RCR

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In the future, I'll certainly keep in mind that the level of reality-evasion is at def con 10 here, and that words don't really have to mean what they mean as long as they are some kind of smear against an "enemy", as well as, the remarkably childish attitudes I've encounted in my few visits to this place.

Every poster speaks only for himself. There are 386 members; you have interacted with one. Considering that only ONE person out of 386 came to this thread to "smear" you and Branden, it appears that the evidence points to the opposite conclusion.

That said, I agree with you statement that ""force" is quite a wild distortion of language…" What Devers did isn't called force. Her behavior is called "rude," in this case incredibly so. I think one could also make a case that she was acting like a stalker. Either way it isn't good.

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Didn't Nathaniel Branden forge a relationship with Rand especially dependent on trust and then break it with lies and adultery? If so, isn't that evasion of reality in the lowest way? She wrote about how detestable Francisco was until Dagny found out it was all a show. So, far from being a "personal disagreement," that was the rejection of objectivism by Branden.

So how was he manipulated again?

Branden then showed everyone his own shallow acceptance of objectivism by accusing all objectivists of being true belivers. In other words, "I was a true believer, so you all must be too."

Also, some people say that just because he left the movement, that means objectivism has major flaws. Have they forgotten Benedict Arnold?

At this point I'm wondering why his name is ever even mentioned.

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Every poster speaks only for himself. There are 386 members; you have interacted with one. Considering that only ONE person out of 386 came to this thread to "smear" you and Branden, it appears that the evidence points to the opposite conclusion.
Most true. Thank you for the reminder. I should mention that this isn't the only time I've encountered childish hostility towards the name "Nathaniel Branden". In fact the owner of this group removed several of my posts, simply because they were advertising Nathaniel's activities.

That said, I agree with you statement that ""force" is quite a wild distortion of language…" What Devers did isn't called force. Her behavior is called "rude," in this case incredibly so. I think one could also make a case that she was acting like a stalker. Either way it isn't good.

Well, maybe "rude"...."stalking" no....but, the way I see it, she was acting in an assertive manner. And assertiveness is one of the prime Objectivist virtures. Rational, sef-interested assertiveness was at the very core of what Ayn Rand was, and what she accomplished. Many Objectivsts have forgotten or never bothered to learn that (nor the difference between assertiveness and aggression). It seems to me that the only reason Ayn let her in the door was because she saw this in Dever's face and body, and instantly admired it.

There is absolutely no reason why Ayn couldn't have shut the door in Dever's face and called security--but she didn't, did she. As I already mentioned, Ayn admired Devers and engaged HER in lengthy conversation. She also said to Devers, "I like that you are not afraid of me". Can anyone on god's green earth imagine *Ayn Rand* saying that to ANYONE whom she felt "threatened" or "pushed around" by?

Ayn Rand was woman who made her own descions--she didn't LET other people push her around. She was no "delicate flower", even as a sad, lonely old woman.

RCR

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Didn't Nathaniel Branden forge a relationship with Rand especially dependent on trust and then break it with lies and adultery? If so, isn't that evasion of reality in the lowest way? She wrote about how detestable Francisco was until Dagny found out it was all a show. So, far from being a "personal disagreement," that was the rejection of objectivism by Branden.

Whew~ Now that is a bitter, bitter mouthful!

LOL. You do realize that Ayn Rand was *married* to Frank O'Connor when she started sleeping with Nathaniel, don't you? If you can't see how your claim above is totally and almost incomprehensibly absurd, then you've got a few principles to re-examine.

At this point I'm wondering why his name is ever even mentioned.

LOL.

--Because people find in Nathaniel Branden (Rand's GALT) a happy, generous, intelligent man, who has spent an entire lifetime devoted to the passion of man's greatness. People admire him, his productive capacity, his work, and his many accomplishments (including the founding of the organized Objectivist movement). I don't think it is really all that very difficult to understand.

R. Christian Ross

http://www.nathanielbranden.com

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The difference is: Rand was honest about it.  Branden was not.  He admits as much in his own book, regardless of how much he may try to blame Rand for everything.

True, Rand did eventually tell Frank that she was cheating on him with a man almost half his age (it was not the first time Rand showed an special interest in a handsome young stranger, either).

Rand's belated "honesty" with Frank (and Branden's with Barbara) doesn't change the fact that both Branden and Rand committed "adultery" on their respective spouses and created an absolutely insane situation for both Frank and Barbara--not to mention themselves--that could not possibly last (and one that ultimately contributed heavily to Frank's depression and alcoholism).

I think it is completely unjustified to suggest that Branden has tried to "blame everything" on Rand. In fact, I'd say one of the main purposes of his book, *My Years with Ayn Rand*, was to take responsibility, quite publicly, for that which was his to take. Afterall, and let us be perfectly clear on this, Objectivists don't accept unearned guilt.

Branden took responsibility--and ownership--for his choices and decisions. He did as much as he could then as a young man in that horrific moment with nothing but Rand's unchecked "woman-scorned" rage. He did again, as an older man, in his book *Judgement Day*, and again with more mature refinement with *My Years with Ayn Rand*.

It was, tragically, Rand (and subsequently those who can not see outside of her shadow) who neglected to achieve this personal breakthrough.

RCR

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I should mention that this isn't the only time I've encountered childish hostility towards the name "Nathaniel Branden".

I'm not surprised, but I would consider it well-deserved rather than "childish." And speaking of hostility, that wasn't a particularly friendly remark on your part. If you want to engage in what Ayn Rand called an "Argument from Intimidation," you'll have more luck with people who are more easily intimidated.

In fact the owner of this group removed several of my posts, simply because they were advertising Nathaniel's activities.
Good!

Well, maybe "rude"...."stalking" no....but, the way I see it, she was acting in an assertive manner.

So is a mugger.

And assertiveness is one of the prime Objectivist virtures.
Funny, I missed that one. Where in Galt's Speech was that?

Rational, sef-interested assertiveness was at the very core of what Ayn Rand was, and what she accomplished. Many Objectivsts have forgotten or never bothered to learn that (nor the difference between assertiveness and aggression).

Some have never learned the difference between rational self-interested assertiveness and irrational aggression.

It seems to me that the only reason Ayn let her in the door was because she saw this in Devers face and body, and instantly admired it.

There is absolutely no reason why Ayn couldn't have shut the door in Dever's face and called security--but she didn't, did she. 

The fact that Ayn Rand was elderly, alone, and frail and that Devers was blocking her way into her own apartment (and presumably the security call button inside her apartment) had nothing to do with it. B)

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R. Christian Ross's posts to this thread are breathtaking in their brazen dishonesty - but I suppose that's what one should expect from Branden's gofer.

He tells us that "Rand did eventually tell Frank that she was cheating on him with a man almost half his age." This is clearly a lie. If one is to trust anything in the accounts written by Barbara Branden and Nathaniel Branden, Ayn Rand never cheated on her husband, but informed him (and Branden's wife) in advance of the commencement of the affair, and sought their consent. There was no dishonesty involved whatsoever. (I don't trust much in the Brandens' memoirs, but this much I can belive).

Then, in the sixties, Branden started his secret affair with the woman who later became his second wife. For several years, he lied to Ayn Rand about his feelings for her and about his being in love with someone else. He swore he did not have an affair with the woman he was in fact having an affair with. And all these lies came in the context of long discussions with Ayn Rand about the state of *their* romantic relationship. When Ayn Rand found out what a miserable lying creep he was, she slapped his face and ordered him out of her life. It should be clear to anyone who has read Ayn Rand's novels that this is exactly what she *would* do to a man who systematically deceived her across years, causing her enormous and totally unnecessary mental confusion and pain.

Yet we are told by Mr. Ross, and by both of the Brandens in their memoirs, that Miss Rand's reaction was a case of "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." (Branden also implied this at the time, in a totally dishonest postscript to the public statement he circulated after the "break.") But if we can trust the Brandens on the big picture, Ayn Rand was not at all "a woman scorned" but had been in a long-standing relationship with Branden, who cheated on her and lied to her across years - whereupon *she* scorned *him*, as well she should have.

Also, anyone who uses the phrase "a woman scorned" about any woman in any context whatever is necessarily an imbecile. As an explanation of or comment on human motivation, it would be too hackneyed and superficial for even a third-rate Naturalist. It's on the order of "Ah, the women, God bless them." To use this kind of trite bromide about someone as unconventional as *Ayn Rand* is ridiculous.

In perfect keeping with his provincial-ladies'-tea-party perspective on human motivation is Mr. Ross's remarkable prissiness. Not only did Ayn Rand "cheat" on her husband, but she did so with a man "almost half his age"! Dear, dear! How scandalous! And I'll bet it wasn't the first time she "showed a special interest in a handsome young stranger, either."

This kind of repressed, desiccated malice is what one would expect from Mrs. Keating in *The Fountainhead*, gossiping with a neighbor over the back fence. To see it from a grown man posting on this forum is disgusting.

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Of course in this case "adultery" cannot be dismissed as any relationship outside marriage. We are not talking about Christians! Branden was an adulterer because he lied about it, committed it outside Rand's consent. Rand's relationship with O'Conner and Branden was consensual, Branden's was not.

To deny Nathaniel Branden any significance is admittedly an exaggeration. Yet, the man simply evaded and lied. I think I really hit the nail on the head with the "true believer" stuff. In the context of his dishonesty towards Rand, it's less of a legitimate criticism than an embarassing confession. After all that, not to mention grotesquely detailing their personal life for all to read, it is difficult to believe a word the man says.

Also I believe some of what you write about Branden. Sadly, charm and intelligence are not always connected to goodness.

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Well, I see from the spay of old-school bromidic and bitter retorts, that the randroid rationalization machine is still in good working order. Ah, well.

Ayn Rand taught that one shouldn't argue with those who aren't disposed to reason.

I am going heed her wise words, and leave this dandelion-stew to its own devises!

Have fun kids.

B)

RCR

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Deavers goes to Ayn Rand's building around 12:30 and told the doorman

she was a journalist [Lie] who had an appointment [Lie] with AR. Gets onto the sixth floor and waits an hour and a half. Ayn comes home and sticks the key in the door, up runs Deavers. She identifies herself and wants to talk.

"The door of the apartment was now half open and I moved in slightly, blocking

her from entering, and I leaned against the entrance with an air of authority and said I had come  here on my own and you knew nothing about it." Remember this is Nate qouting his wife.

Branden ought to consider herself lucky that she did not get a faceful of pepper spray squirted at her! That's what sometimes happens to people who try to block little old ladies from entering their apartments.

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Wow, what an impressive exit RCR!

Only a truly reasonable man would run away after the first sign of criticism, without bothering to state one single fact for his defense.

And is that condescending tone supposed to sound clever?

I wouldn't know about these things.

What I do know is that hostility manifests itself in a lot of weird ways. The most common smearing in our places is calling someone unreasonable. Unfrotunately for the online smearers, the entire course of discussion is forever saved online - and their irrationality is blatantly obvious. You don't even have to know the subject involved - the observation can be made on purely formal terms.

This is how it looks like:

X: fact-based criticism.

Y: Blames X for being irrational.

X: another fact-base remark.

Y: Blames X for being childish.

X: Trying to get back to the subject.

Y: Blames X for being stubborn and insensitive.

X: Asking Y to please calm down, and offering another fact based argument.

Y: Declares he can't communicate with such unreasonable people, and leaves.

I have seen this pattern too many times.

BTW - does anyone have a tip on effectively dealing with situations like this? It usually takes me a long time to understand what I'm dealing with...

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This is how it looks like:

X: fact-based criticism.

Y: Blames X for being irrational.

X: another fact-base remark.

Y: Blames X for being childish.

X: Trying to get back to the subject.

Y: Blames X for being stubborn and insensitive.

X: Asking Y to please calm down, and offering another fact based argument.

Y: Declares he can't communicate with such unreasonable people, and leaves.

I have seen this pattern too many times.

BTW - does anyone have a tip on effectively dealing with situations like this?

The way you deal with it depends on what it is you wish to accomplish. If your objective is to persuade Y in your example - well, that's not possible as he is clearly evading and not open to reason. In that case, the best bet would be to just walk away from the conversation. On the other hand, when you have an audience such as in a conversation where there are several onlookers or in a discussion forum such as this one and you wish to make a certain point about the other person's viewpoints or character, then it might be worth your while to continue the exchange. But if you choose to do so, your objective should not be to persuade the irrational person but rather to expose and underscore his irrationality to those watching who are open to persuasion. In most online forums you will find that lurkers usually far outnumber active posters - and many of the lurkers will not have as strongly developed opinions on the matters under discussion as the participants. Therefore, there are times when it can be productive to take on irrational people in a public venue even though it would be an utter waster of time to do so in a private conversation.

In the case of this thread, I think the engagement was very productive and the result was quite the opposite of what RCR wished to accomplish. Not only has his approach to interacting with others been exposed, so has Deavers Branden's.

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In the case of this thread, I think the engagement was very productive and the result was quite the opposite of what RCR wished to accomplish. Not only has his approach to interacting with others been exposed, so has Deavers Branden's.

That's definitely true. :)

And yes, I know it's useless trying to convince the irrational. I find I have a tendency to be over forgiving, however. It takes me a long time to recognize consistent irrationality.

I first attribute it to a misunderstanding, then to an honest mistake, then to some emotional state - and only finally I understand that this is pure, unadulterated, vicious irrationality.

I think perhaps it is easier to see these things when you read back the posts in a forum, than when you are trying to recreate old conversations....

BTW - Dismuke, I'm currently listening to your radio station. Keep on the good work!

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In the case of this thread, I think the engagement was very productive and the result was quite the opposite of what RCR wished to accomplish. Not only has his approach to interacting with others been exposed, so has Deavers Branden's.

That's definitely true. :)

And yes, I know it's useless trying to convince the irrational. I find I have a tendency to be over forgiving, however. It takes me a long time to recognize consistent irrationality.

I first attribute it to a misunderstanding, then to an honest mistake, then to some emotional state - and only finally I understand that this is pure, unadulterated, vicious irrationality.

I think perhaps it is easier to see these things when you read back the posts in a forum, than when you are trying to recreate old conversations....

BTW - Dismuke, I'm currently listening to your radio station. Keep on the good work!

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