Reading Philosophy

Sep 05, 2004 01:01 # 26126

Estrellas * posts about...


88% | 6

I read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand in January (after hearing that Terry Goodkind's books were based on her philosophy) to help shape my views on life. At first I accepted it because I believe in pride in yourself and your family, but then I realized that the philosophy is selfish, so I rejected it around March. Recently I have had some ego issues, I don't intend to, but I have a tendency to brag about my good fortune in life, and it brings me back to objectivism every time the issue comes up. I want to be able to have pride in my accomplishments, but I don't want to appear to have an overinflated ego.

So, what are your thoughts about Objectivism? Is it wrong to be proud, or should we keep our accomplishments to ourselves?

I realize that is not all objectivism is, but that's the issue I'm currently struggling with at this point in time. I'm young and open, sway me.

Sep 05, 2004 03:15 # 26130

jael *** throws in her two cents...

Re: Objectivism

?% | 1

I havent read "Atlas Shrugged" BUT... I can tell you this .. there is nothing wrong with being proud with your achievements and/or your acomplishments... infact to me those are the things worth celebrating ... So if some one does ask you what you've done and what you've acomplished, don't hesistate to answer ...

BUT! do it with considerable humility .. don't rub it in some ones face ..

You talked about good fortune and that you are lucky to have it ... (this is entirely my opinion) I NEVER brag or say that im lucky to get good fortune ... because you never know whats going to happen next and in my personal experiance ... I've done that once and the next thing I knew , everything that i believed in and trusted in came crumbling down ... Being grateful for good fortune is lot better than bragging about it.

All in all ... be proud of what you've acomplished ... it's what you've struggled so hard for... celebrate it ... but do it with humility .. do it with modesty ... those are virtues hard to come by these days =)

Sep 06, 2004 01:34 # 26197

mclaincausey *** rants...

Re: Objectivism sucks

100% | 9

Ayn Rand was a bit of a dingbat. Her objectivist cult basically worshipped the ground she walked on and she repayed the favor by walking all over them as if they themselves were the ground she walked on, acting out on her own insecurity and sexual jealousy. She got into some sort of nasty love triangle that wound up destroying her little movement. She was a domineering, egotisitical intellectual thug, and her writings betray this essence. The "philosphy" she espoused is tempting, because selfishness is one of our base instincts: but, like many instincts, rising above it or at least keeping it in balance is often the mark of integrity and civility.

Her "philosophy" of Objectivism to me is just a manifestation of a symptom of a human dysfunction that characterizes our culture: that the individual and his/her concerns are what matter most, and that selfishness is the glue that holds our society together. I think it's clear that selfishness is a disease that is tearing our culture and our civilization apart. It drove Capitalism to a roaring success, but that success always depended upon a growing market and a growing underclass, and with the advent of globalization, that greed is dismantling cultures and economies all over the world. The tariffs, treaties, and regulations that counterbalanced the greed upon which Capitalism thrived are being dismantled, and we are starting to see the catastrophic results of what happens when you removed checks and balances from a system which thrives on self-interest. Our culture took the worldview that Ayn Rand later packaged as her own and called "Objectivism" and ran with it: and look where it has gotten us. We stand on the brink of self-destruction.

As a recovering drug addict, I see the same sorts of pathological, reckless behaviors in executives like Kenneth Lay that I myself used to engage in in the pursuit of a fix. Therefore I regard greed on this level to be an addiction, a sickness, a disease. We have sociopathic people running these immensely powerful corporations, and they will run over anyone and anything that gets in their way. This is clearly a dangerous outcome of practicing the religion of unabated self-interest.

Just think of the many examples of what has happened in just the past few years as our culture has sunk deeper into the morass of greed: executive incomes have spiralled upwards at an alarming rate while the working poor and the middle class are basically being robbed to pay those salaries, tax cuts have been made that will ultimately result in the gutting of social security and a heavy tax burden for future generations, if not a wholesale collapse of the economy, scandal after scandal has been uncovered in government contractors that were hired under suspicious circumstances and are inappropriately close to policymakers, and corporations have been used as personal banking accounts to the detriment of employee retirement funds and stockholders' interests. Greed has motivated wars, exploitation and all kinds of inhumanity for centuries. And these examples don't even get into what unchecked greed has done to the environment.

I could continue a litany of such cases: example after example of greed's destructive effect on society have been revealed in just the past few years.

Basically, Objectivism gives its adherents the false moral justification to do whatever benefits themselves in all instances, to the exclusion of concerns about what might benefit others and even themselves, in the long run. Rather than using the gifts one has to better the world, Ayn would have us use them to enrich ourselves.

There's nothing wrong with seeking out personal gain, if it is done responsibly. By responsibly I mean with concern for our fellow earthspawn. Rand views altruism as an evil: to me this is a twisted belief and one that has allowed the empire builders of the world to pursue policies friendly to their sinister interests: selfishness, a central tenet of Objectivism, is destroying this world: in terms of warfare, in terms of the environment, in terms of limited resources and overconsumption, and even in terms of disease.

In summation, Objectivism is in large part the description of a mental illness, that being pathological self-interest, that will likely mean the end of life as we know it.

OK, now that I got that out of the way, I see nothing wrong with pride if it is in balance, much like self-interest. But I find Rand to be an unbalanced, Wagnerian thinker on this matter as well. But I feel that basically pride is a liability and humility is an asset. I think that we should always carry ourselves with dignity and self-confidence, and take pride in what we do, how we do it, and what the results are. But no one likes a braggart. We should be grateful for what we are given, not proud of it. For instance, I'm grateful to live in the US, with a reasonably good standard of life. But am I proud to be American? By what rationale can I take pride in where I happen to have been born? Was I in any way responsible for it? I believe in taking pride in what we accomplish and who we are, and being grateful for the rest.

Ewige Blumenkraft!

This post was edited by mclaincausey on Sep 06, 2004.

Sep 10, 2004 17:30 # 26417

fisher_king * replies...

Re: Objectivism

87% | 3

I love the entire objectivist philosophy, its rationalist and anti-mysticist and Atlas Shrugged provides so many excelled criticism of socialism that I must love it. (Being a rampant anti-socialist).

I think you've missed the point a little if you dumped it because it was selfish - the point is that selfishness is a virtue. It might seem like it isn't in the short term, but in the end its only when people do things for themselves that society truly balances.

I think mclaincausey is probably right about how odd the little clique of objectivists that formed around rand where. The problem with the theory is that while it might be unconsciously subscribed to by many in the boardroom the only people who are going to become disciples to its progenitor are the very second handers that Rand was arguing against.

- Fish

We were gods once and will be again.

Feb 11, 2005 00:46 # 32766

mclaincausey *** replies...

Re: Objectivism

100% | 3

Again, I don't think Objectivism is a philosophy so much as it is a restatement of a cultural disease and an excuse to continue indulging base and desctructive instincts.

I think you've missed the point a little if you dumped it because it was selfish - the point is that selfishness is a virtue. It might seem like it isn't in the short term, but in the end its only when people do things for themselves that society truly balances.

I never "dumped" it because I never accepted it to begin with. Nor did I "miss the point" if the point is that "selfishness is a virtue."

I don't see any historical precedent for selfishness "balancing" society, unless by "balance" you mean "state of inequity and exploitation." In part this derives from what you consider to be "balanced." It could mean "fair" or it could mean "stable" in this context.

Admittedly, you can have an unbalanced, hierarchic situation that is stable for a time, but that's not the kind of stability I would aspire to.

A balanced society to me means one that values all its constituents equally and attempts to provide for them on that basis. Randianism leads to a Social Darwinist system based purely on greed. Again, we see the ravages of this unsuccesful paradigm echoed throughout history. Rome didn't disintegrate because of selflessness and sacrifice: those virtues, in tension with greed, built the Republic. Conversely, it was greed and self-service, and the abandonment of servanthood, that later doomed the Empire. We see the same thing happening to the United States today. In my view we have bitten off a bit more than we can chew in our insanely greedy Oil Crusade, and it will likely mean our own destruction, if not literally, then at least the destruction of our way of life.

Community is built upon contributions that are made for the betterment of society, and generally those contributions are made in conflict with immediate self interest, and hence greed. Over the long haul, I feel that there is a greater reward: the reward of character, of righteousness, and of participation. Over the even longer haul, the reward is a better world.

Perhaps its selfish of me to want that.

Ewige Blumenkraft!

This post was edited by mclaincausey on Feb 11, 2005.

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