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This is unrelated, but Richard Conn Henry is up to it again. He comments on the recent tests of QM that were published in Nature:

http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

The Virtue of Selfishness, by Ayn Rand. I think the title says it all but to fair to her she has a different take on the word selfishness then we usually apply to the word selfish. But her teachings are opposite of those of the mystics and enlightened masters. Her teachings sure reinforce our egotism and we humans love reinforcement of our cherished beliefs.

I commented on another person’s quote that Ayn Rand made in this blog and he may have taken it out of context. To be fair I did check out some of her teachings and beliefs to make sure this quote fit her opinions and it certainty appeared to fit her viewpoint very well indeed.

I suspect but don’t know but her living under the influence of communism in her early years may have tainted her a tad bit (understatement) towards individualism and pure capitalism.

I had a married couple in one of my weeklong seminars that had lived under communist rule and just the word cooperation sent them into an emotional roller coaster ride. They got so upset with the word cooperation you would have thought I wanted to pull out their eyeteeth without Novocain.

Communist ideologies had had a profound impact on their lives.

You may have reasonable objections to Ayn Rand's philosophy - but I'd like to know what this letter has to do with them. Your argument makes as little sense as the letter's (Can you think of a better criticism of Rand than, "look we even have our own website?").

>You may have reasonable objections to Ayn Rand's philosophy - but I'd like to know what this letter has to do with them.

Why, nothing. That's the point.

To find out what I have against Rand, follow the link to my essays in the first sentence of the post.

Wait... It is not cool to talk about a dead person's ideas? Great. Now it is official, my philosophy minor is compeletely worthless. Everyone was right after all.

Michael you stated that "The Utopia of Greed." is the name of one chapter in one of Ayn Rand’s books. This reminds me of the movie wall street where Michael Douglas states “greed is good”.

After working with many fortune 500 hundred organizations on performance and quality improvement and talking to these managers and CEO’s, one begins to realize how devastating Wall Street’s incompetence and greed is on organizational performance and ultimately the decline of wealth and the middle class in America.

But in Wall Street’s defense we all share to some degree this same incompetence and greed in our individualistic and materialistic culture.

Michael: great article called “Shrugging off Ayn Rand” about your experiences with Ayn Rand’ teachings. Amazing to me is that many of the books I read suggests that a person would have these very experiences that you experienced in your life with Ayn Rand’s teachings.

Hi, Michael. I guess I lost track of your blog at some point, and just thought of checking back due to a post on 2blowhards.com about crime fiction writers.

Anyhow, yeah, more Rand. More young people working through their basic intellectual flaws, more old people just exposing them like wrinkled buttocks at the beach. Rod, like many solid thinkers blissfully unacquainted with this "philosophy", may not fully appreciate the ubiquity of stuff like the message you quote above.

The "living thinkers only" rule, I gotta admit, is a new one to me. I guess Rand must have met and shared bilateral conversation with Immanuel Kant before calling him the most evil thinker in history, with Hume as his lackey and Plato as the original Bad Seed.

Oh, no, wait... she said that without even reading their books.

And got furious at anyone who tried to explain their ideas to her in an insufficiently negative light.

And cultivated among her disciples the belief that it would be immoral to read the original works, or any journals that might deign to respond to her gross mischaracterizations and slanders against said works.

Reason at it's finest. Ms. Logic, Ayn Rand.

The one thing I took away from Rand's 2 books were

true selfishness leads one to be selfless in the end...

but I am not sure if she meant it that way...

Hi Michael,

Are you sure you shed Rand's influence or have you simply filtered out some good parts for use and disposed of the rest (including, of course, the abominable behavior of some nasty, but very lonely and frightened souls seeking certainty)?

I have just finished Final Sins and I see Rand all over it, even to the point of the good gals (Tess and Abby) being a major conflict of the story (Rand's main literary technique). I do admit your villains are more villainish than Rand's, so they command more conflict than with her stories.

Or how about the Faust's definition of art? (Turning a live girl into a cadaver certainly is a selective recreation of reality... //;-)

I could go on, but I was just thinking out loud for a minute...

//;-)

Michael

Michael,

I forgot to mention, Final Sins is a wonderful suspense novel. I really like your writing.

Michael

Hi Michael,

I think you believe that anything you enjoy must qualify as "Objectivism." Since my book happily falls into the category of things you enjoy, you see it as reflecting Ayn Rand.

My (always evolving) worldview at present is that reality is subjective, reason is limited, selfishness is bad, and capitalism must be moderated by government intervention. This puts me at odds with Objectivism, I'd say. But I'm glad you liked the book!

Michael,

Well, if I were picky, I would say that reality for your heroines Tess and Abby bordered on the subjective at times in their discernment of evil as the devil, but in the end, they always kept matters objective and factual, they had hunches, but basically they used reason for the grunt intellectual work in solving the crimes, both were very selfish, especially in terms of the men they loved, but also in other areas, and, and, and... they both got the bad guy by stepping outside of government intervention and taking the law into their own hands (not exactly capitalism, but there is a parallel).

//;-)

Please don't take this badly. I'm just teasing you a bit...

Michael

Okay ... but don't assume that an author necessarily agrees with, or even likes, his characters. Agatha Christie thought Hercule Poirot was a horrible man, and Arthur Conan Doyle despised Sherlock Holmes. In my case, I like Tess better than Abby, but neither of them is anywhere close to my "ideal." I don't write about ideal people - which is another difference between me and Ayn Rand!

“My (always evolving) worldview at present is that reality is subjective, reason is limited, selfishness is bad, and capitalism must be moderated by government intervention.”

Could an “always evolving world view” be the meaning or purpose of human life to advance towards some type of fulfillment or awareness through the evolution of our consciousness?

I suspect but don’t know but if capitalism was not moderated by government one per cent of the people would have 99% of the wealth. This condition I suspect if history is a valid predictor would lead to a revolt from the 99% with the one per cent of the wealth.

As far as I can tell from the observations in my life the people I have known that are the least selfish appear to be the happiest and most content with their outlook on life.

As far as “reality being subjective” that may be, but maybe reality is indeed an absolute but our perception of that absolute reality is subjective and our beliefs appear to have a huge impact on our perception of reality. This statement is open for debate because my research into NDE’s appears to indicate that reality may very well be very subjective at least the short duration of an NDE, but realty may not be totally subjective if we actually cross over and this observation is from my research into spiritualism.. Not sure that statement made any sense.

Reason being limited is I think a very accurate statement about our possible reality as an evolving consciousness that perceives ourselves as a separate entity; now we must ask what is the root cause or origin of our limited reasoning abilities and our possible misperception of being a separate Being.

No data to back up these statements just observations.


"I have known that are the least selfish appear to be the happiest and most content with their outlook on life."

I want to be happy and content in life and so I make the selfish choice to be selfless as much as posssible..

Now am I selfish or selfless???

>Now am I selfish or selfless???

Semantics.

Selfishness is service to the Little Self. Unselfishness is service to the Big Self.

As discussed here.

Michael,

You like Tess better than Abby?

Dayaamm!

You will probably not be surprised that I really like Abby. I strongly identify with her spirit. She reminds me a bit of Francisco D'Anconia... (Oops... sorry. There I go again! This is a terrible habit! //;-)

I really like Tess, too, but I find her to be a bit hung up.

They are a wonderful pair. I hope you get some first-rate movies out of them. Their strongest point from my view is that they are 100% fun to observe working together and against each other. The world seems to be a better and lighter place with them in it. That's how it feels, anyway.

Michael

Michael

Have you researched Borderline Personality Disorder?

This is kind of a personal take on things, but I know that in my lifetime I have encountered 2 people who fell under the influence of Ayn Rand. I later realized that both of these people had BPD.

Jeff Walker, in his book "The Ayn Rand Cult", suggests that Rand herself had BPD, but he doesn't elaborate. I guess it is more generally known that she did have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

I'm interested in hearing more perspectives on this pairing of Objectivism/Ayn Rand with BPD.

Thanks :)

Satya: the word “want” may indicate that a person’s motivation is embedded in selfishness not selfless. The ego can be very deceptive and convince itself it is very selfless when in reality it is practicing selfish behavior.

Now original sin is mentioned in Michael’s link. Sin is missing the target whereas original means a unique and creative origin. The question becomes what is the origin of our missing the target. If we never missed the target would we be perfection? Without imperfection (duality) the world would cease to exist with entities that perceive themselves as separate. Stated another way blogs cease to exist.

While we continually condemn others and ourselves for our sins, would it be beneficial to be seeking the origin of our “sins” rather than accept historical beliefs inspired by religious ideas of right and wrong.

>You like Tess better than Abby?

Dayaamm!

You will probably not be surprised that I really like Abby. I strongly identify with her spirit.

I really like Tess, too, but I find her to be a bit hung up. <

MSK, I agree with you on everything except I don't like Tess at all for the same reason you mention. I think Abby could do a lot better for a pal. Abby rocks. Still, Tess is good as the character I love to hate ;)

>I'm interested in hearing more perspectives on this pairing of Objectivism/Ayn Rand with BPD.

I'm afraid I don't know enough about BPD to comment. I do think Rand was a narcissist - not because she advocated selfishness, but because of how she treated other people. I also think she showed signs of megalomania, which is usually a form of compensation for deep insecurities.

None of this would matter if her more ardent fans didn't insist on holding her up as the epitome of reason and sound judgment.

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