Ayn Rand is the antithesis of a life lived unselfishly - the Christian norm. Why, then, are so many people so in awe of a crazy woman who eventually went into an insane asylum because she was mad. Selfishness is not virtuous. Self-interest, when at the expense of others (and it mostly is), is not good for the community. Self-interest eventually makes any society, nation, or community a dog eat dog society.
For reasons beyond me, some people seem to think that because these is some aspect of self-interest in most people, that this must make it holy. By that reasoning, most people face moments of anger in their lives when they could kill someone. That does not make it holy.
Self-interest means that one looks after one's own interests at the expense of the community. For instance, if there's a deadly virus about, and one thinks one isn't infected yet, despite quarantine, one escapes - only to infect the rest of the world. Self-interest is NOT a good thing. Yes, it sometimes enables personal survival and personal prosperity, but at what cost?
"The reality of life is, people are born with or conceive passion, and they pursue that passion, that self-interest of theirs, whether the welfare of their kids, their love life, their art, etc. What is wrong with that? "
Well, some of us grew up in a different age and in different countries. I was taught that duty and obligation to others was way ahead of anything I wanted or desired. In fact, when I arrived in the US 9 years ago, I had no idea what they meant about the pursuit of happiness, having a passion about something, or anything else.
Sure, I look after all my duties and obligations, but that's not necessarily because it's self interest.
I was going to respond to this post.
Then I read a good sample of posts by the originator of said post.
And I realized that any response I make will be lost to an ignorant, self righteous author.
So instead you get this.
Not sure where you get this from... I thought she died of cancer?
I haven't read a book of hers in years, but she was a gifted author. I do remember a weight of depression while reading her works.
I'm a little confused. Are you saying her philosophy and Christian values are somehow connected? She was an atheist who denied transcendant moral values.
I don't see her views as right or wrong, simply interesting; given her early life experiences.
I don't think that last bit is true. She was an atheist all right, but she definitely believed in transcendant moral values. Whatever else she was, she wasn't a moral relativist.
Maybe I stated that poorly. But, if your own happiness is the only moral purpose of your life does that really count as transcendant moral values?
I think Ayn Rand believed that people had the right to pursue whatever they believed would make them happy, as long as it didn't infringe the rights of others. I also think Rand saw happiness in terms of achievement, rather than just pursuit of pleasure. The second link I posted explains it well, I think.
So if making others happy is what makes you happy, then by all means go and volunteer in that homeless shelter, but if you'd prefer to build a business empire or become a research scientist instead, then it's your prerogative to go for it, without anyone guilt tripping you or forcing you to do charity work instead.
Where Objectivism gets a bit murky (for me) is the issue of family ties and obligations - for example, say you have a bad relationship with your parents and they become ill and need looking after, and you're the only family member that they have - do you drop your career and care for them, or not? What Would Ayn Rand Do LOL?
http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer? … man_rights
http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page= … mp;id=5415
Emile R, at the time I read Ayn Rand, I had read somewhere between 8000 and 10,000 books. I was a highly experienced reader, having read works from the 16th century through most of the 20th century. I had read most of the 19th century classics by the time I was 14. She bored me to tears. It was only sheer iron will that kept me reading. And, yes, I read everything, from Indiana Jones style author Rider Haggard (circa late 1900s) through Jules Verne, H G Wells, Alexander Dumas, Frank Herbert, John Creasy, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Isaac Asimov, Jane Austin, Charlotte Bronte, whoever.
Antithesis means the exact opposite of... Christianity.
@Sophia - Do you really want to stand by your statement that you have read 8000 - 10,000 books?
Of, course I am exposing myself to ridicule also, but for the sake of argument - and judging from your profile photo - if I attribute your age at 55 years, and assume you learned to read at 5 - them your have had 18,250 days of life since you learned to read - so, 8000 - 10,000 books means you have completed a book ever 1.8 - 2.28 days - for your entire adult life.
Does "Baby's First ABC" count?
Sorry, Sophia, I couldn't resist.
Yes, I do stand by it.
I was reading 200 pages an hour by the time I was ten years old and 500 pages an hour by the time I was 14 years old. I also read between 400 and 5000 pages a day throughout my 12 year schooling. No, I didn't do anything else. I didn't have friends. I was a geek/nerd. Yes, I tested gifted at 10 years old as was everyone else in my family. I also read throughout my lessons (never listened at school or did homework). I still managed to get through high school without doing a stitch of work. And my first articles were published when I was 9 or 10 years old.
I'm 61 years old, and anyone who knows me in the flesh will tell you I look in my early 40s.
Awesome Sophia!...Then, you must agree that the author's private person is no object of study of the Classic (or other wise any form of literature) reader. But yes, we can always discuss whether she, as an author, was a racist, bigot or whatever.
Incidentally, I too read Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead) long time back, when I was about 18 probably. I was somewhat dazed trying to figure out her exact philosophy. I was impressed for sometime, specially with her craft and probably the religious outlook. Soon however, I lost all interest. To me, this book seemed less to say something concrete and more to be sensational.
I did not take to her ultra-libertarian views, which seemed to me just another form of overt consumerism she was propagating. I guess she was too much capitalist for my stomach. I never wanted to read any more of her books - it was the first book that took me a long time to read- so I will definitely credit her for taxing my brains. The other writers (later read) who taxed my brain much more - Conrad or Joyce or Faulkner however became my favorites. I really don't regret not reading more of Ayn Rand.
I feel the same, and I am least interested in her as a person. It is of no consequence to gossip or gloat over her as a person- the talking point should be her writing. That is how I would look upon this subject.
"Self-interest" doesn't have to mean "trampling over the rights of others".
You could argue that it's a supreme form of self-interest that actually recognises the rights of others, because respecting others' rights encourages them to treat you in the same way (OK, I know that life has its share of arseholes and psychopaths so it doesn't always work like that, but you get my point).
Hey Sophia, if Ayn Rand were alive today she would consider you to be "unworthy" (me too).
The right wing is self delusional, trying to justify their own greed and rapacity by referring to Ayn Rand's fictional novels.
Paul Ryan is now trying to disavow his belief in Ran's philosophical drivel but he is just revealing his hypocrisy. Ryan is trying to pervert Christian teachings to justify his ideas.
I think that people who follow anti-Christian teaching should show some integrity and admit that they worship money, not Christ. I wrote a Hub some time back about Rand
Why on earth do people insist that you have to be religious in order to be moral? *scratches head*
I believe Ayn Rand and Reagan fit into the same category when it comes to the modern myth and legend. The right wing has re-invented both of them by only promoting those aspects of each of them that fit their agenda. They both had good qualities, bad qualites and ugly qualities. But for the purpose of having a model to follow, the right wing only promote those qualities that will get them votes. What does it mean when someone says: "I'm a Reagan Conservative?" Reagan only lowered taxes once and raised taxes 11 times. He caused the deficit to increase to 3 trillion dollars during his terms. He was involved in the Iran-Contra scandle, and created the savings and loan debacle of the 80's.
Rand described altruism as “evil,” condemned Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor, viewed the feminist movement as “phony,” and called Arabs “almost totally primitive savages.
What both of these people have in common is they both had a strong show business background and knew how to feed their propaganda to the masses.
Peoplepower, "Rand described altruism as “evil,” condemned Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor, viewed the feminist movement as “phony,” and called Arabs “almost totally primitive savages.
What both of these people have in common is they both had a strong show business background and knew how to feed their propaganda to the masses."
That's the part that most people who are enamored with Ayn Rand don't get.
If Ayn Rand became a "Wacko" it was perhaps she saw the futility of "preaching" a doctrine that would be rejected by a society that have been nurture by the concept of altruism. Organized religion and government have use deception and guilt to foist on people that the unselfish concern for the welfare of others in its narrowest sense would be beneficial to all. We can argue that today's economic meltdown is cause by avarice and self interest. But welfare states that punish the industrious while encouraging the lazy is just as guilty. Altruism and self-interest are two sides of the same coin of survival of society and the human species. We need both.
If we're going to model our country's economic policies based on fiction, why not Fitzgerald?'
The rich are different from you and me.
Yes, I can definitely picture Ryan and Romney calling each other "Sport."
Yes, Romney was a bit clumsy when he said "I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed." for a man who's worth $200 million
Do you suppose there's a Mormon Mafia?
The best literary parallel for Romney/Ryan would be "The Elohim Father"
Two-faced dudes with double standards and a bloody high body count.
So according to you, a person who has a great idea, discovery or thought has to be perfect. They aren't allowed to ever make a mistake, have a problem, or be a "human". Oh and they are required to have perfect grammar and spelling.
Some of the greatest artistic, scientific and discovering minds of our time have had severe mental illnesses. It seems to come hand in hand with great minds.
Really Sophie, unless you are perfect yourself, should you really cast the first petty stone because you can never achieve the same heights as these amazing people?
Wrylit, I have no idea what you mean by this...
"So according to you, a person who has a great idea, discovery or thought has to be perfect. They aren't allowed to ever make a mistake, have a problem, or be a "human". Oh and they are required to have perfect grammar and spelling.
Some of the greatest artistic, scientific and discovering minds of our time have had severe mental illnesses. It seems to come hand in hand with great minds.
Really Sophie, unless you are perfect yourself, should you really cast the first petty stone because you can never achieve the same heights as these amazing people?"
Actually, my values are the values I learnt at school and in the country I grew up in. Virtually everybody I know in both England and South Africa has my values, so really, this isn't about anyone being perfect. This is about disavowing crazy ideas that have been infiltrating and destroying civilization for about the past 30 or 40 years. Or do you want to wait another 20 years and see the end result.
I personally see nothing wrong with being selfish. If I don't look after myself first, I can't help anyone else. And I'm not going to help someone unless they want to help themselves.
Should we just keep throwing money at problems and people so they can live like the masses in 1984?
WryLilt, you made a personal attack on me because you didn't like what I was saying. It showed that you really didn't have much of a grasp of anthropological systems.
Quote from you, "I personally see nothing wrong with being selfish. If I don't look after myself first, I can't help anyone else. And I'm not going to help someone unless they want to help themselves. Should we just keep throwing money at problems and people so they can live like the masses in 1984?"
Have you read my article on why I don't like Republicans?
One of the reasons is that they can only see in black and white. What on earth has Ayn Rand's philosophy got to do with current politics and 'throwing money at problems and people so that they can live like the masses in 1984?"
Wow! Talk about fuzzy logic.
I suggest, and I strongly suggest, you go and do some anthropological classes, specifically studying social behavior of the human species. I'd also suggest you expanded your vision to how selfishness affects the medium to long term survival of communities. Study history, and I don't mean American history as it's a very short time frame.
If you're going to insult and argue against someone's conclusions or believes (in this case Ayn Rand), ignore the irrelevant points such as their personal life and health.
I'm out. It's like arguing with my mother - there's a whole alien logic system going on that I'm not privy to.
(And PS. I'm Australian. Unlike most of the people in the US, I'm aware that there's a big wide world out there.)
Wrylit, forgive me. i forgot you were Australian. That said, I think I know Ayn Rand's story as well as anyone else. Remember that I read every single one of her books - not just The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I was also introduced to the Libertarian movement in South Africa. What I found fascinating was that the members were all somewhere between the Upper Middle and Obscenely Rich. What I also found interesting was their attitude towards porn. It was all about personal liberty.
Well, here's the thing. One man's meat is another man's poison, and if we do not consider others around us, then we will constantly be at war. In order for communities to flourish, personal interest in things that affect the community cannot be put ahead of other things. Paying people slave labor wages is an example of putting one's own profit above the good of one's workers. http://capitalismandyou.blogspot.com/20 … -pays.html
Ayn Rand's personal life had everything to do with her conclusions. Repeatedly I've noticed when talking to people who come from communist countries, that they go to the other extreme. In order for life and communities to work well, we need balance. And the fact that she was mentally ill means that a lot of what she propagated might (and actually was) fuzzy logic.
Ayn Rand was a victim of a communist society. That doesn't mean that the rest of us have to be victims of a dog eat dog oligarch (which is what extreme capitalism becomes).
As I said, I'm not going to argue.
But since you mentioned porn, what are your thoughts on FSOG?
Never heard of FSOG. Give me five minutes while I look it up. Oh, Five seconds on Google. Sorry, have no idea what that has to do with porn - something that has completely passed me by in life. Have no interest in it. Rather repulses me actually, but then that's me.
Haha. It's a best selling book based on BDSM passing itself off as abuse.
Not sure what BDSM is either, but I suppose just looking at it, something to do with Sado Masochism. I really don't understand what this has to do with Ayn Rand.
As I don't read books, watch films, or indulge in anything of that sort, I'm afraid I can't discuss things like that.
What has this to do with the fact that Ayn Rand is supposed to be holier than the Holy Grail when her philosophy of selfishness goes against that of both Christianity and Judaism - and a lot of other religions.
Sophia Angelique; i agree with you about people who have lived under commununist rule, come to this country and they are paranoid about social programs causing communism. Ayn Rand's real name was Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum. She was a Russian Jew who lived under the rise of the Bolshevik party under Vladimir Lenin.
Orly Taitz was born to a Jewish family in Chişinău,in the Soviet Union. She is the birther who keeps insisting Obama was born in Kenya and is a radical communist, muslim...and there are people who follow these paranoid people blindly...go figure! Now we have Paul Ryan who makes his staff read Atlas Shrugged. What does that tell you?
She was a mentally ill poster child for the anti immigrant community. I am so sick of hearing her name and of suckers who expect everyone else to take her seriously.
There is a time when a wise person realizes that they are listening to a crazy person and disengages with them.
I have been trying to research the statement that Ayn Rand went into a mental institution and so far haven't found any reference to it at all. Where did that information come from?
As for the cause of her death, she did in fact have lung cancer, but from what I have found the official cause of death was heart failure. She had surgery for the lung cancer in 1974 and called it a complete success. She died in 1982.
That's very interesting. I read that a while ago, but also I've known about it for years. And now I can't find anything about it on the web. It used to be there. I'll go on looking for it. My understanding was that she spent some time suffering from mental illness. Let me get back to you on that.
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