Mudita Journal

Objectivism 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Yasuhiko Genku Kimura: The virtues of enlightened selfishness

July 13, 2011  ·  Category: Integral, Intellectual, Objectivism

A writer I've never heard of before, named Yasuhiko Genku Kimura, has a very interesting article titled "The Virtues of Enlightened Selfishness" that begins: The human being has two wings, the wing of universality and the wing of individuality, with which to fly above the earth and to soar into the heavens. The wing of universality grows in the awareness of selflessness, while the wing of individuality grows through the creation of selfhood. In this seeming paradox lies the secret of human evolution and of human happiness. To be universal is to be inseparably one, in the oneness of which there ...

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 ...

Objectivists: Do we have an “unchosen obligation” to respect the rights of others?

February 10, 2011  ·  Category: Objectivism, Politics

I just submitted the following question on Peikoff.com. It's a question I've had for many years, and the answers I've gotten from various Objectivist thinkers have varied considerably. It seems like a pretty important question, particularly for a philosophy that aspires to be internally consistent: Ayn Rand taught that we have no unchosen obligations. She also taught that we must respect the rights of others. How does one resolve the apparent contradiction? Is it because rights constitute only a negative obligation? Or because we choose to live in society? Or something else? I hope Dr. Peikoff answers it. I would be interested ...

Transcript of my Reason.tv interview about Ayn Rand’s legacy

February 16, 2010  ·  Category: Buddhism, Individualism, Intellectual, Objectivism

My thanks to a user on braincrave.com for transcribing the parts of my August 2008 interview with Reason.tv that pertain to Ayn Rand's legacy. I'm pasting his transcription below (with a few light edits and corrections) for Mudita Journal readers interested to revisit some of the themes I explored in that interview. I definitely think her novels provide the best introduction to her ideas. They're easier, so they're more accessible to many people. They're best sellers over the last 40 to 50 years, so obviously they've appealed to many people. But also, they set her ideas in the context of the ...