Mudita Journal

Individualism Archive

A personal statement on Ayn Rand

January 4, 2014  ·  Category: Atlasphere, Individualism, Intellectual, Objectivism, Personal

The topic of Ayn Rand's personal life, how it could have affected her philosophy, and whether her overall philosophy is truly valid, has come up regularly lately on my Facebook timeline. And for good reason. Many who go through a phase of identifying closely with Ayn Rand's philosophy later come to disavow the term "Objectivist." Often one factor in their decision is simply that they can't stand the moralistic-antagonistic antics of those in the orthodox branch of the Objectivist movement, even though they still agree with the basics of Rand's philosophy. Others stop calling themselves "Objectivist" for more substantive reasons. Some of ...

The skyscraper and the cherry blossom: Why Objectivism needs secular spirituality

After my "Pointing to the reality" post, my intelligent Rand-loving friend was rubbed the wrong way by my suggestion that cherry blossoms are on the same level with skyscrapers: Skyscrapers give us an appreciation for things as they could be, for the ways man changes the world. How can cherry blossoms compare? Here is my reply. I like your summary of the worldview Ayn Rand articulates, about man's life as the standard of value, and how much meaning there is at that level, of shaping the world around us to fit our needs and to support our life and happiness. I ...

Promoting selfishness and greed: Ayn Rand’s strategic error?

July 10, 2012  ·  Category: Individualism, Intellectual, Objectivism

Russ Roberts at Cafe Hayek has a lovely piece titled "Motives vs. Results," exploring the motives of those who promote liberty, and how they compare to those who might instead promote big government. I wrote of the article on Facebook: A beautiful explication of why one could and should promote political freedom as a way to improve the world. It reminds me how much I wish Ayn Rand had not made the strategic error of over-emphasizing the value of greed and selfishness. Why not emphasize our harmony of interests, instead? Or the tremendous role of win-win relationships, in a free society? There ...

Peter Thiel: Find a frontier and go for it

June 10, 2012  ·  Category: Individualism, Intellectual, Politics

This year PayPal founder and visionary entrepreneur Peter Thiel offered a new class at Stanford called "Computer Science 183: Startup." It was intended to provide entrepreneurs with a high-level strategic overview of the challenges they face and must overcome, to succeed not only in business but in advancing human progress — in an era when real progress has, in fact, been slowing down for decades. Stanford law student Blake Masters attended the course and offered detailed essay-style notes from all 18 courses. They're well worth reading. Check out the first one, "The Challenge of the Future," for a taste of Thiel's ...

Ayn Rand and murderer William Edward Hickman

November 22, 2011  ·  Category: Individualism, Intellectual, Objectivism

A friend on Facebook lamented the fact that academics tend to equate libertarian thinking with Ayn Rand — "And it's never her ideas of anything like self-ownership or individuality that get cited either. It's always her batshit personality quirks," like "Her creepy admiration of William Edward Hickman, a serial killer." My reply: I've heard that something like 80% of serious libertarians originally came to these ideas via Ayn Rand's novels — though their intellectual development hardly stopped there, of course — so perhaps it's not surprising that many people, especially those who aren't familiar with the genre, associate her ideas with libertarianism. The ...

Book recommendation: “Hunter” by Robert Bidinotto

September 25, 2011  ·  Category: Atlasphere, Individualism, Intellectual, Objectivism, Reviews

I like inspirational novels with a significant moral message, such as Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead and Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull. They hit us on multiple levels: supplying entertainment, giving intelligent food for thought, and providing inspiration and emotional fuel for facing the challenges of leading The Good Life. With that in mind, Robert Bidinotto's novel Hunter: A Thriller hit the spot. I found the writing crisp, the characters interesting, and the interplay of plot and theme to be tight and compelling. I was far more moved than I expected to be, particularly by the love relationship between Dylan Hunter and ...

The legend of Damon and Pythias: Trust and loyalty in a true friendship

July 23, 2011  ·  Category: Individualism, Intellectual

From Wikipedia. As told by Aristoxenus, and after him Cicero (De Offic. 3.45), Diodorus Siculus (10.4), and others, around the 4th century BC, Pythias and his friend Damon, both followers of the philosopher Pythagoras, traveled to Syracuse. Pythias was accused of plotting against the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius I. As punishment for this crime, Pythias was sentenced to death. Accepting his sentence, Pythias asked to be allowed to return home one last time, to settle his affairs and bid his family farewell. Not wanting to be taken for a fool, Dionysius refused, believing that once released, Pythias would flee and never return. Pythias ...

On the psychological impact of the Atlas Shrugged movie

April 19, 2011  ·  Category: Atlasphere, Current Events, Individualism, Intellectual, Objectivism

Brian Wright offers some insightful reflections after seeing the Atlas Shrugged movie. These pargaraphs caught my attention as particularly noteworthy: Tonight I find myself clarifying several of the key ideas that Ayn Rand developed that were expressed in the movie. Here are the four key ideas I see in ASM: Innovation and the joy of creation The importance of industrial production Egoism and reason vs. altruism, faith, and force The distinction between the productive class and the political class Each of these points emerges from time to time as the theme of Atlas Shrugged comes forward: That theme is "What happens to society when the 'men ...

Bill Whittle: What we believe (the Tea Party philosophy)

December 21, 2010  ·  Category: Current Events, Individualism, Intellectual, Politics

I just discovered these this morning. (Thanks, Marsh!) I haven't had time to watch them all, but I'm so blown away by the quality of the first one -- and I've found Bill Whittle to be so outstanding overall, in the past -- that I'm going to go ahead and post the full series here. What do you think of his presentations?

The Singing Revolution: How the tiny country of Estonia overthrew their Soviet occupiers, without killing a single person

February 16, 2010  ·  Category: Individualism, Intellectual, Politics

I just ordered a copy of The Singing Revolution, a documentary about how the Estonian people organized themselves in the 1980s and cleverly used the cultural power of songs to overthrow their Soviet occupiers. An entire nation was freed from Soviet occupation, without a single person being killed. (Think about that for a moment... Why haven't you heard about this before?) See the trailer here. And more information about the movie (including reviews) is available from Amazon. I originally learned about the movie from my friend Stephen Browne, when he wrote about it on his blog. Commentary on the movie (via Amazon.com) from filmmakers ...