Mudita Journal

Intellectual Archive

Who has loved

September 28, 2014  ·  Category: Individualism, Integral, Intellectual, Mindfulness, Personal

Who has loved with the ultimate depth, and actively given the object of your love back to the universe? Who has experienced that, through this gift, you transcend a broken heart? Who has found this path to having an unguarded heart? That you can fly without wings, fall without landing, hurt without closing, love without losing? To you, your love is my love. Our love is great love.

Ostracism: What does civility require? The case of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich

April 4, 2014  ·  Category: Current Events, Intellectual, Politics

Here are my thoughts on the forced resignation of new Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich. I ultimately believe the differences of opinion on this topic come down to the question of civility. The uncivil perspective: Use ostracism when someone is wrong about something important, and we think we can get away with it. Problem is, people commonly disagree about what is wrong and what is important. If we use it on them today, they have more justification for using it on us tomorrow. It creates an inquisition-like atmosphere of fear and conformity on all sides of all issues, because the stakes are higher, there ...

Defining integrity

March 17, 2014  ·  Category: Intellectual

I am in the process of creating a new site for zader.com. It will be an online magazine devoted to the theme of living with integrity. I'll publish new essays periodically, eventually folding those essays into books on key topics — such as integrity, emotions, love, and meditation. In my lead essay I explore the meaning of integrity. One challenge with the essay has been formulating a good definition. For my purposes, the best definition (a) is concise, (b) acknowledges the full role of integrity in our lives, and (c) provides a decidedly helpful heuristic for practicing integrity. Below is a sketch of ...

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 ...

Pointing to the reality

I wrote this in answer to a friend, a relative newcomer to Ayn Rand's philosophy, who inquired about my interest in spirituality and why I would say something like "The divine is all around us." Why use the same words that religions use? I just got back from a 20-minute nap in the sunshine in the grass, in the park down the street. On my way to my favorite patch of grass on the embankment, I was approached by a young black missionary named Marcelle who was carrying a bible and was eager to talk. Sweet kid, seemed lonely, and was ...

Kirsti Minsaas on Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged

August 25, 2012  ·  Category: Intellectual, Objectivism

Tonight I read Karen Reedstrom and Thomas Gramstad's excellent 1997 Full Context interview with Norwegian literary critic and scholar Kirsti Minsaas. I enjoyed many of the exchanges. Here are some excerpts I found especially thought-provoking. Q: You are writing a book about Ayn Rand. Can you tell us about the topic, scope and progress of this work? Minsaas: Well, the book will in part be based on the lectures that I have given, but I want to integrate them into a coherent presentation of Ayn Rand as a literary artist, emphasizing in particular the romantic qualities of her writing, both in terms ...

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 ...

Toward a better relationship to sex … and porn

May 23, 2012  ·  Category: Current Events, Health, Intellectual, Mindfulness

Here are some choice quotes from a recent Q&A in The Guardian with Alain de Botton, author of the book Religion for Atheists. Ideally, porn would excite our lust in contexts which also presented other, elevated sides of human nature -- in which people were being witty, for instance, or showing kindness, or working hard or being clever -- so that our sexual excitement could bleed into, and enhance our respect for these other elements of a good life. No longer would sexuality have to be lumped together with stupidity, brutishness, earnestness and exploitation; it could instead be harnessed to what ...