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Ayn Rand (does not) describe herself and other thoughts regarding Rand
Posted: 22 April 2013 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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CuthbertJ - 16 April 2013 10:27 AM

DarronS - that’s your opinion nothing more, and a very condescending one at that (and inaccurate). Personally, back in the day I was extremely well read, on my way to a PhD in Philosophy and found her novels excellent, couldn’t put them down.

OK, then…
Please share some examples of anything Ayn wrote worth spending a lot of time pondering.

(including location would be fun - for the sake of further research into context)

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Posted: 23 April 2013 09:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 22 April 2013 04:31 PM
CuthbertJ - 16 April 2013 10:27 AM

DarronS - that’s your opinion nothing more, and a very condescending one at that (and inaccurate). Personally, back in the day I was extremely well read, on my way to a PhD in Philosophy and found her novels excellent, couldn’t put them down.

OK, then…
Please share some examples of anything Ayn wrote worth spending a lot of time pondering.

(including location would be fun - for the sake of further research into context)

Well your response is just plain dumb. You’ve pre-determined that everything she has written is worthless. Tell me what of hers have you read?

It occurred to me too that for those who AREN’T closeminded, you might try reading Anthem.  That’s a better synopsis of her thought, and it’s a short read. (And by closeminded I mean unwilling to judge her ideas based on one’s own investigation into her thought, versus hearsay.)

Keep in mind, I personally don’t agree with her ideas. But what I hate is when others disregard her ideas based on personal prejudice, expressed in stupid phrases like “she was a nutjob who thought it was ok to steal from the poor…” or “she was a sociopath”, “she wasn’t even an academic at a respectable university”.

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Posted: 25 April 2013 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I haven’t been ignoring you - just busy.

Like I said earlier I read Atlas Shrugged listened to that Mike Wallace interview, read bit of Fountainhead before I had enough, and have looked around on the web and seen what folks that peddle her stuff the most think and have done.

I’ll have to listen to those interviews again.  I just looked up Anthem and did the WIKI Cliff Notes thing and nothing too impressive in there except a reminder that she was very much a creature of the 30s and European situation in the 30s -

I never pretended to be a scholar on the topic, but than Rand is no scholar either, in fact seems she’s a college drop out… hmmm

I notice you very neatly sidestepped saying anything about anything Rand wrote that we can take valid lessons from.

==================================

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand
Early life
“Rand was born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum (Russian: Алиса Зиновьевна Розенбаум) on February 2, 1905, to a bourgeois family living in Saint Petersburg. She was the eldest of the three daughters of Zinovy Zakharovich Rosenbaum and his wife, Anna Borisovna (née Kaplan), largely non-observant Jews. Zinovy Rosenbaum was a successful pharmacist, eventually owning a pharmacy and the building in which it was located.[8] Rand found school unchallenging, and said she began writing screenplays at the age of eight and novels at the age of ten.[9] She was twelve at the time of the February Revolution of 1917, during which she favored Alexander Kerensky over Tsar Nicholas II.

The subsequent October Revolution and the rule of the Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin disrupted the comfortable life the family had previously enjoyed. Her father’s pharmacy business was confiscated and the family displaced. They fled to the Crimea, which was initially under control of the White Army during the Russian Civil War. She later recalled that while in high school she determined that she was an atheist and that she valued reason above any other human virtue. After graduating from high school in the Crimea at 16, Rand returned with her family to Petrograd (the new name for Saint Petersburg), where they faced desperate conditions, on occasion nearly starving.”

Well that’s enough to twist a young girl’s mind.

And what are we supposed to make of this is gobbildy gook:

Rand called her philosophy “Objectivism”, describing its essence as “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”[95] She considered Objectivism a systematic philosophy and laid out positions on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy and esthetics.[96]

And I could spend all evening, with a couple scotches, musing on it because I know “the concept of man as a heroic being” very well, along with “the pursuit of my own happiness” as extremely important to my mental health…
However that’s were it breaks down, because I am part of a community and family and to live a dignified, moral existence requires a bit of sacrifice and the appreciate that inner satisfaction goes deeper that just getting my rocks off for myself.  And that is what I see Rand Peddlers being most interested: justifying their self-obsession and disregard for functional community practices.

But I’m outta time and this is probably a bit sloppy

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Posted: 26 April 2013 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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So she had a rough early life in totalitarian Russia. That makes her nuts? What about, well, just about every intellectual/artist/etc, to come from that same background? Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Solzhenitsyn, Shostakovich? We’re they twisted too?

Lessons? Well like I said I basically disagree with her ideas. But I guess there are some lessons even I as a bleeding heart liberal could gather, such as Man (i.e. humans) ARE heroic and worthy of our assistance.  Productive achievement? Sure, sounds good to me, versus sitting around criticizing everyone else but not lending a hand.

As far as that statement about Objectivism, you’ve evidently never studied philosophy. That is an extremely clear statement of her beliefs. Try reading Kant or Spinoza or Berkeley. And what don’t you understand about it? Man as a heroic being (versus a dumb slob born to lose)? Own happiness as the moral purpose (versus the slavish purpose of only making others happy)? Productive achievement (versus the unproductive lifestyles of many many academics who add nothing to society)?  Reason as his only absolute (versus blind faith that can be used to enslave)?  I’m not getting what you don’t get.

BUT at least you’re hinting at wanting to debate the ideas versus being a complete follower and hopping on the “hate the right, hate Ayn Rand” bandwagon. Then again you fell into the trap too when you summarized her thought as “justifying their self obsession and disregard for functional community practices”. Completely missed the point on that one buddy.  It’s been awhile but I think it was Mulligan Gulch or something like that that appeared in Atlas Shrugged, where she describes her idea of community.

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Posted: 26 April 2013 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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CuthbertJ - 26 April 2013 10:49 AM

So she had a rough early life in totalitarian Russia. That makes her nuts? What about, well, just about every intellectual/artist/etc, to come from that same background? Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Solzhenitsyn, Shostakovich? We’re they twisted too?

Not sure what your impression is but I’m thinking you might get a kick outta talking to some of Solzhenitsyn’s neighbors.  ;- )
Who says well balanced and genius - or fashionable faux genius - go together?
Nuts is in the eyes of the beholder. 

Back to Ayn, I’m serious when I pointed out the time and place that Ayn lived through as a child and young woman - rather than dismissing it as some cliche’ - I wish you could spend a moment appreciating that world back then and how it impacted folks.  It does inform her outlook and what she wrote and how she lived. 
Ignore that and her books have even less value.

CuthbertJ - 26 April 2013 10:49 AM

Lessons? Well like I said I basically disagree with her ideas. But I guess there are some lessons even I as a bleeding heart liberal could gather, such as Man (i.e. humans) ARE heroic and worthy of our assistance.  Productive achievement? Sure, sounds good to me, versus sitting around criticizing everyone else but not lending a hand.

“...such as Man (i.e. humans) ARE heroic and worthy of our assistance…”
“..versus sitting around criticizing everyone else but not lending a hand…”
What are you trying to say with that?

Please explain “assistance” in a Randian manner.

CuthbertJ - 26 April 2013 10:49 AM

As far as that statement about Objectivism, you’ve evidently never studied philosophy. That is an extremely clear statement of her beliefs. Try reading Kant or Spinoza or Berkeley. And what don’t you understand about it?

Please, please! stop, my life is too busy living the heroic sentient, somewhat productive life to have much time for over wordy dead philosophers. 

If Rand’s use of “Objectivism” is so clear, why not summarize it?
OH, by “That,” do you mean her Anthem?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Are you talking about this? :

1.1 - It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone. We have broken the laws. The laws say that men may not write unless the Council of Vocations bid them so. May we be forgiven!

1.2 - But this is not the only sin upon us. We have committed a greater crime, and for this crime there is no name. What punishment awaits us if it be discovered we know not, for no such crime has come in the memory of men and there are no laws to provide for it.

1.3 - It is dark here. The flame of the candle stands still in the air. Nothing moves in this tunnel save our hand on the paper. We are alone here under the earth. It is a fearful word, alone. The laws say that none among men may be alone, ever and at any time, for this is the great transgression and the root of all evil. But we have broken many laws. And now there is nothing here save our one body, and it is strange to see only two legs stretched on the ground, and on the wall before us the shadow of our one head. . . . . . .
{http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/texts/anthem/complete.html}

Please let me know what parts of this “Anthem” you find noteworthy?

CuthbertJ - 26 April 2013 10:49 AM

Man as a heroic being (versus a dumb slob born to lose)? Own happiness as the moral purpose (versus the slavish purpose of only making others happy)?

Oh lordie, give me a break, this is melodrama you are repeating.
“Slavish purpose of only making others happy”...
What are you talking about? Please explain.

If Rand’s use of “Objectivism” is so clear, why not summarize it?

CuthbertJ - 26 April 2013 10:49 AM

Productive achievement (versus the unproductive lifestyles of many many academics who add nothing to society)? 

Yipes, now you starting to sound like… like… like
well i don’t want to jump to conclusions…
What are you talking about? Please explain.

CuthbertJ - 26 April 2013 10:49 AM

Reason as his only absolute (versus blind faith that can be used to enslave)?  I’m not getting what you don’t get.

“Reason” as man’s only absolute! ? 
Are you actually saying that, ... reason our only absolute??
What about all the other stuff that makes us human? Please explain.

CuthbertJ - 26 April 2013 10:49 AM

BUT at least you’re hinting at wanting to debate the ideas versus being a complete follower and hopping on the “hate the right, hate Ayn Rand” bandwagon.

You know here you are sounding exactly like the cartoon you have been taking such umbrage at.

CuthbertJ - 26 April 2013 10:49 AM

Then again you fell into the trap too when you summarized her thought as “justifying their self obsession and disregard for functional community practices”. Completely missed the point on that one buddy.  It’s been awhile but I think it was Mulligan Gulch or something like that that appeared in Atlas Shrugged, where she describes her idea of community.

I welcome you to share examples of healthy civic attitude from her writings.

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Posted: 26 April 2013 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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What do you think of Paul Kidder’s take?

August 27, 2012
The simplistic flaw in Ayn Rand’s philosophy
A philosophy professor dissects the faulty logic in the libertarians’ favorite deep-thinker.
http://crosscut.com/2012/08/27/politics-government/110215/ayn-rand-seattle-u-philosophy-professor/
By Paul Kidder

As a professional philosopher, I should be grateful to Ayn Rand.  As Leonard Peikoff put it, she was “the greatest salesman that philosophy ever had.”  Indeed, {...}

But I must confess that I am somewhat sheepishly ungrateful for what Rand hath wrought.  Her watchwords are “reason,” “logic,” and “objectivity,” but when I scrutinize the ideas for which she has been most influential — her ideas on political economy — I find that they are logically fallacious to the point of unreason.

I see that Rand does not tolerate the philosopher’s patient tarrying with differing points of view but moves in quickly for the rhetorical kill.  She seems to be moved by a passion — the libido dominandi, the desire for control — far more than by the gentle art of thinking.  It is always astounding to me that some of the most educated members of our intellectual elites should swallow her arguments so gleefully, and I have to believe that it is more a function of their elitism than their intellectual capacities.
{...}

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Posted: 27 April 2013 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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CuthbertJ - 26 April 2013 10:49 AM

As far as that statement about Objectivism, you’ve evidently never studied philosophy. That is an extremely clear statement of her beliefs. Try reading Kant or Spinoza or Berkeley. And what don’t you understand about it? Man as a heroic being (versus a dumb slob born to lose)? Own happiness as the moral purpose (versus the slavish purpose of only making others happy)? Productive achievement (versus the unproductive lifestyles of many many academics who add nothing to society)?  Reason as his only absolute (versus blind faith that can be used to enslave)?  I’m not getting what you don’t get.

BUT at least you’re hinting at wanting to debate the ideas versus being a complete follower and hopping on the “hate the right, hate Ayn Rand” bandwagon. Then again you fell into the trap too when you summarized her thought as “justifying their self obsession and disregard for functional community practices”. Completely missed the point on that one buddy.  It’s been awhile but I think it was Mulligan Gulch or something like that that appeared in Atlas Shrugged, where she describes her idea of community.

CuthbertJ, I have studied some philosophy, and also read Ayn Rand’s ideas. However, I do not have a PhD in Philosophy so cannot play in your league when discussing the subject. If you want a philosopher’s take on Objectivism see Massimo Pugliucci’s four-part essay at Rationally Speaking.

I tried linking directly to the essays, but the forum software thought it might be spam. Go to Rationally Speaking and search for “ayn rand.”

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Posted: 27 April 2013 12:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Here’s my take on Ayn Rand.  Her ideas were far from unique.  Early 20th century proto-politcal-philosophers were a dime a dozen.  Her longevity is partly due to the fact that she was a female. Otherwise her works would have been considered pulp. But in the mode of “Clockwork Orange”  “1984”  etc…..
There’s nothing wrong with trashing her works because:
Her works have been taken to symbolize political ideology…and as such, opposing ideological promoters are perfectly justified in erasing her memories and works.
I don’t see anything wrong with book burning.  Just as long as the right books are burned.
Ooooh..“What did he say?”  “Book Burning?”!!  Yes.  It’s simple.
I don’t have to subscribe to some blind meme about “The sanctity of freedom of expression.”
When enough can determine that an idea or an ideology is harmful(subjectively) then that thing should be erased.
We’re trying to erase Nazism.  We’re trying to erase racism.  We’re trying to erase communism. Etc Etc.
It’s a war of information and thoughts.  It always has been.

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Posted: 30 April 2013 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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citizenschallenge - Now you’re just being, well I can’t say it here. Man As A Heroic Being.  Do you not know the meaning of the word “man”? “Heroic”? You’re just being stubborn, much like I remember the devout Objectivists I used to meet at forums (in person, pre-internet!).  They stubbornly refused to explain WHY they believed AR.  You stubbornly refuse to accept that words have meaning, so you want to play a silly word game.

DarronS and VYAZMA - You make good points based on thinking about her ideas (or point to essays that do). Bingo! That’s all I’m saying. Some of her ideas are novel, some, like VYAZMA said are just variations of existing ideas. But at least you’re giving thoughtful reasons why you dislike her (sort of) versus basically personal prejudice. That’s all I was saying.

I think I’m going to start another thread related to this notion of putting ideas based on personal prejudice of the person having the ideas.

DarronS - btw, I don’t have a PhD in Philosophy, I stopped short because of conversations similar to this thread. The professors at the school were utter snobs, and wouldn’t debase themselves by even considering that AR might have an idea or two worth debating. They wouldn’t even consider her enough to say, “gee her ideas are basically the same as X”. Academic “racists” would be a good term for it.  Also, almost every one of the professors I had merely engaged in word games like citizenschallenge.  “Man”, ok what do you mean by “Man”, you know the human race, “yes but what is the human race”, you know people from ancient times til now, “yes but race, that term itself is malleable”, and on and on ad nauseum.  I mean a certain amount of analysis is what philosophy is all about, but I don’t call words games analysis. Anywho.

[ Edited: 30 April 2013 10:03 AM by CuthbertJ ]
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Posted: 30 April 2013 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 05 April 2013 06:08 PM

I don’t know why that image isn’t working anymore. 
Well, here’s her quote:

“I am a mediocre writer, hypocrite and a sociopath.

My disciples are ignorant deluded hypocritical sociopaths too.”

Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosembaum

AKA Ayn Rand

I bring it up because it’s about the first time I’ve read anything she’s written that has made sense to me.

Further reading for the curious:

Ayn Rand, Just Go Away
By Victoria Bekiempis, Guardian UK
11 June 12
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/11863-focus-ayn-rand-just-go-away

Ayn Rand: Sociopath Who Admired a Serial Killer?
By Austin Cline, About.com GuideMay 11, 2011

http://atheism.about.com/b/2011/05/11/ayn-rand-sociopath-who-admired-a-serial-killer.htm

Ayn Rand And The Sociopathic Society or ‘How I Learned To Stop Loving My Neighbor And Despise Them Instead’
2013/03/24
By Justin “Filthy Liberal Scum” Rosario

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/03/24/sociopathic/

“This is a simple fact that can be verified by anyone with even minimal Google skills. She was the Albert Schweitzer of Selfishness and the Mother Theresa of Greed all rolled into one. This, naturally, makes her a hero to the Right and qualifies her for sainthood. Too bad she was an Atheist. . .”

Voices from the Flats – I Me Mine: The Unholy Trinity Of Ayn Rand
By Don Millard
http://www.themudflats.net/?p=20458

I suspect that when she wrote


“I am a mediocre writer, hypocrite and a sociopath.

My disciples are ignorant deluded hypocritical sociopaths too.”


She was mocking her critics by repeating their words. 

I remember her from when she appeared on televisionyears ago. I dont agree with her ideas about untrammeled capitalism or politics, but her ideas about religion were interesting and they had some effect on my moving from doubter to atheist. She was one of the very few intellectuals who apeared on television at that time.

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Posted: 30 April 2013 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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CuthbertJ - 30 April 2013 09:46 AM

citizenschallenge - Now you’re just being, well I can’t say it here. Man As A Heroic Being.  Do you not know the meaning of the word “man”? “Heroic”? You’re just being stubborn, much like I remember the devout Objectivists I used to meet at forums (in person, pre-internet!).  They stubbornly refused to explain WHY they believed AR.  You stubbornly refuse to accept that words have meaning, so you want to play a silly word game.

Is that how you side step giving serious answers to serious questions.

Fighting cliche with cliche, doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

Why not do some explaining about what is on your mind?

For instance Lois makes an interesting point… {actually two ;- ) }

[ Edited: 30 April 2013 08:05 PM by citizenschallenge.pm ]
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Posted: 01 May 2013 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 30 April 2013 07:58 PM
CuthbertJ - 30 April 2013 09:46 AM

citizenschallenge - Now you’re just being, well I can’t say it here. Man As A Heroic Being.  Do you not know the meaning of the word “man”? “Heroic”? You’re just being stubborn, much like I remember the devout Objectivists I used to meet at forums (in person, pre-internet!).  They stubbornly refused to explain WHY they believed AR.  You stubbornly refuse to accept that words have meaning, so you want to play a silly word game.

Is that how you side step giving serious answers to serious questions.

Fighting cliche with cliche, doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

Why not do some explaining about what is on your mind?

For instance Lois makes an interesting point… {actually two ;- ) }

Sorry, I don’t take your questions seriously anymore. Lois gave a nice response, similar to things I have said. For some reason though you choose to quibble about words with me and not her.

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Posted: 02 May 2013 10:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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CuthbertJ - 01 May 2013 10:04 AM

Sorry, I don’t take your questions seriously anymore. Lois gave a nice response, similar to things I have said. For some reason though you choose to quibble about words with me and not her.

jeez this is what I asked

Why not do some explaining about what is on your mind?

... in regards to examples of Ayn expressing what you think is of value.  I’m genuinely curious to hear your thoughts.


This is a discussion board.

peace   cheese

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Posted: 15 May 2013 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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I read Atlas Shrugged a few years back without the knowledge of any of the partisan posturing that has taken place around it.  I found it interesting, the basic fiction hooked me enough to get me through it and I found some of her ideas at least worth thinking about.  I’m very left leaning and disagreed with much of what she was preaching (and preach she did), but I found that she made some valid points regarding religion and certain physiological tendencies regarding peoples motivations.

I can see why rights would cling to this book, she can make agreements that at face value can be convincing (although when you control the actions and motivations of every character in the book, it’s easy to make anyone who agrees with you seem virtues and those who oppose you seem like illogical idiots.)

If I could point to one positive I took away from the book it’s that it gave me a different perspective on how some conservatives view certain issues.  It allowed me in a sense to at least see where they are coming from on occasion, because I admit at times their beliefs puzzle me.  My mind wasn’t changed on these issues but I think even a little bit of a different perspective is a good thing and can help when discussing and debating topics.

I found much of the political rhetoric from both sides a bit overstated regarding the book. Upon finishing it I though Rand was an intelligent women, who’s extreme views were largely shaped by her experiences early on in her life.  Now I should admit I have read no further books by her and have not seen any interviews, on further research I may find her to be an abomination, I can only speak to my impressions regarding Atlas Shrugged.

On a side note I will admit that the 60+ page monologue at the end of the book was one of the most unbearable stretches I’ve ever had to endure while reading, simply horrible.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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CuthbertJ - 16 April 2013 10:27 AM

DarronS - that’s your opinion nothing more, and a very condescending one at that (and inaccurate). Personally, back in the day I was extremely well read, on my way to a PhD in Philosophy and found her novels excellent, couldn’t put them down. I also found no one in academia thought anything of her. I’ve since discovered many in academia look down on anyone, whether it’s a philosopher, a musician, etc. who pursues activities that relate to the “unwashed and ignorant” masses. Too bad, because she does have some interesting ideas.

Her main mistake IMHO was to try to express her ideas in loaded words such as ‘greed’ and ‘selfishness’.  Those words have standard meanings and have negative connotations that will never change. It’s sort of like the word “manifesto”. That word is forever connected with communism and totalitarianism.  If you wanted to write and promote a “manifesto to happiness” you’d fail.

So while folks in this thread continue to summarize her thought as defending greed and selfishness, they’re really missing the fact that she means something different by those words. It’s no different than if I’d written a “happiness manifesto” and folks in this thread accused me of writing something to brainwash people just like the Commies did.

The next time you read a criticism of her, do the following substitution:
instead of Selfishness, use Rational Self Interest.
instead of Greed, use Pursuit of goals unimpaired by efforts of others to enslave ones mind or to impose rules and conditions that you haven’t agreed with prior to acting.

Those are the ideas she’s expressing.  Now debate THOSE ideas.  I personally find there are problems with them and I don’t live my life by them. But at least now we’re talking ideas, accurately represented, versus silly personal attacks and loaded statements like “she’s supports climbing over others to get what you want”.  UNFORTUNATELY…it’s hard work, and righties take the easy route and twist things.

IMO, as we are social creatures, self-interest is not very rational if it excludes taking into account the interests of others.  Pursuing one’s goals without regard to socially imposed rules (that you personally haven’t agreed to) may sometimes make sense, not only for one’s self but for the larger society.  But taken to the extreme, this would lead to chaos.  And chaos is not good for children or other living things.

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