Ayn Rand Message Boards…

I constructed the following message board post for “4aynrandfans.com,” however I could not post it. The administrator requires all new registrants to verify their email address, which is certainly reasonable. After I completed my verification, I learned that the administrator has elected to review each registration before granting the permission to post.

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How can you justify the idea of a space where individuals… fans… of Ayn Rand… gather to discuss her, and her ideas?

First, let me distill a myth. Ayn Rand may have had great ideas… and/or a great ability to express ideas… and she may have been a great person in her own right (at least according to the principles that she seems to espouse), but Ayn did not live a life that was in perfect balance with “objectivist” ideals, and I could draw that same conclusion about the people “discussing” her here simply by the fact that they… you… are “discussing” her here. Perfection is an impossible ideal. In matters ranging from science to cooking – nothing… no one… maintains perfect and absolute consistency.

That being said, I contend that if Ayn Rand were able to live her life in 100% accordance with her ideas, she would have shunned her so called “followers,” and she would have urinated on any “school” or “club” that evolved to perpetuate those values that she held so dear. Sadly, Rand was human.

If you consider yourself to be a creator… to be a person of will and determination and integrity… Roark… why do you spend so much time “discussing” Ayn Rand and thinking about HER ideas? Why do you spend so much time writing essays? Why do you spend so much time effectuating this “club” where “Rand’ists” will come to hang out, sip tea, and share philosophies? Do you think our friend Howard would be here writing articles for our… his… amusement?

You realize that I am inclined to call many of you followers. It’s like Ayn Rand made a bowel movement and many of you rush to smell it, and compare the great writer’s scent to your own.

Ayn Rand and those who actually effectuate her principles do not need your defense. They do not need your club. They do not gain by the fact that people who read her book, who posses no other purpose in life than to flock to the romantic ideal of maintaining “self” against all odds, are here – ready to take arms. What is your purpose? To awaken the world? I suggest instead that your focus change to awakening yourselves. The very idea of self-associating myself with a mass of other people whose philosophies are tangentially related to mine compels me to vomit.

I realize there may be exceptions here on this board, but i’m inclined to believe that many of you are exhibiting behavior no better than the James Taggart’s of the world. Meeting in your pristine dining halls, or in this case, in exclusive message boards run by administrators who are likely to delete this message.

For everyone else… whether you are 14 or 86… if you live your entire lives in confusion… pursuing phony ideals… if you find truth in the last breath you take here on this earth… I hope you will forgive yourself of all your sins.

The world is dark. Cruel. Cold. We are alone. Deal with it.

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15 Comments

  1. rags
    Posted October 14, 2007 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    you are right.most of us are no better than james taggart. but then her ideal is stupefying. she is not a very comprehensive rationalist.may be she didnt live her life her way, i mean the way she wanted the rest of the world to live their lives. but her philosophy is a real boon.thought it is not completely rationalistic

  2. Leon Mire
    Posted October 18, 2007 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    Wow, what a breath of fresh air! It seems that everybody either hastily dismisses Ayn Rand or accepts her ideas eagerly and uncritically. It’s nice to read the thoughts of someone who is willing to seriously ENGAGE with Rand and her thoughts.

    That being said, I do not think that a space where one discusses Rand’s ideas is NECESSARILY anti-individualistic. True, in practice, most people on these forums simply parrot the arguments made by Rand, Peikoff, etc. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If people discuss the ideas with originality and intelligence, it is very much individualistic.

    Rand did not say that individuals cannot benefit intellectually from one another, and it doesn’t matter if she did or not, because she’d be wrong if she did. Individualism does not mean you have to live in a cave, isolated, completely by yourself. Individualism means giving others the proper value, that is, below oneself, not giving them no value at all. And that means there is nothing wrong with trying to awaken others – just as long as you have truly awakened yourself, as you rightly point out. Why, after all, did you post this message to the Rand forum in the first place, if not to awaken them? Your criticism of them could equally well be applied to yourself.

    In any case, as I said, your attempt was refreshing and valient, and I find the administrator’s response humorously typical of their hypocrisy.

  3. Posted November 13, 2007 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I love Ayn Rand and her work. Please do not e-mail me anything other than material pertaining to her. No junk mail, please!

  4. Deanna
    Posted November 13, 2007 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Oops. Haha. I didn’t know my comment would be posted on this message board. I agree with this post and it made me realize that I’m no better than Peter Keating when it comes to such matters. I should start living my life for me by my own morals and standards even though I admire Ayn Rand’s ideals.

  5. Posted November 15, 2007 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    I’m starting an Objectivist Art Wiki…

    http://www.objectivistart.wetpaint.com

    …and I’m looking for intelligent contributions (it’s bare-bones right now).

    I think that Objectivist art really needs a shot in the arm! The cheesy junk that people are calling Objectivist art is insulting!

  6. Aaron R
    Posted November 24, 2007 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Under normal circumstatces, I would agree wholeheartedly with your ironic diagnosis of the followers of leaders. However, I cannot bring myself to compromise my personal egotism, nor can I compromise my allegiance to the only literary figure currently memorable whose thoughts closely align with my own. I will concede the fact that Ayn Rand could not be a true objectivist, simply because her own drive to populate a bleak world with the ideals of success resulted in the creation of subjectivists whose values masquerade as those of an objectivist, content in the support of ideals that do not, by objective definition, align with the core definition of said ideals. However, such an accusation violates a truer definition of objectivism, a definition that Rand, herself, fails to enumerate in her texts. In The Fountainhead, a book, I am certain you are familiar with, the protagonist, Howard Roark, is morally opposed to the modern conventions of architecture, favoring, instead, his own inspiration. However, Rand failed to differentiate between true individualistic inspiration and the personal allegance one may form to ideals that oppose those that one may find morally corrupt (similar to those one may form to the writings of a certain objectivist author). Perhaps a particular architectural project would be best executed in a traditional manner, and that possibility is never expressed in The Fountainhead. This creates an epistemological ambiguity in the values behind Roark’s decisions. it is, thus, arguable that Roark exemplified the truest form of subjectivism: an allegiance to values established not by his ego, but by the unquestioned opposition to convention. This is as dangerous a following as that dedicated to pre-established values. Therefore, I may qualify my original thoughts through my allegiance to a dead philosopher if my ego so prescribes; a safer alternative to blindly rejecting her ideas because they are not my own.

  7. reasonmrsmith
    Posted November 24, 2007 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    Aaron –

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I do agree that Fountainhead is incomplete in many ways, although the first time I heard any spattering of ideology from him (that I can recall) was at the trial (video posted to this blog – and the transcript is true to the book). Before the trial, I did not perceive him as being an individual for the sake of being an individual (which you seem to question), but rather an architect who simply had impenetrable character. If anything, Roark came across one-dimensional, as if he were a hot actor and his biggest female, adolescent fan was describing him for all of our enjoyment. After the speech I continued to perceive Roark as simply being a man with unwavering character, but Rand revealed that he had more depth to him. I feel that Rand romanticized Roark quite a bit, as she romanticizes all of her male heroes in F and AS. As you know if you’ve seen the movie, which Rand was involved in, Rand’s presentation really does not live up to the standard that her powerful philosophy creates. Rather, her characters are simply empty vessels. I’m done rambling.

  8. richter
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    i completely agree with leon mire. i dont think anything more could be said there. it seems as though many people are coming to rands philosophy out of a trend that it is popular rather than actually analyzing the philosophy presentedi find it rather disgusting to see people who proclaim something, anything solely out of view that it is the stylish thing to do. when people do this with philosophy the result is what we see today, aimless people who follow a faceless mass and dont know heads from tails of what is happening anywhere. im very frightened for what the future may hold because although there is plenty of potential in a few indidviduals the faceless masses are coming to hold more and more unseen power endagering the future of all including the those that have vision.

    i also realize i got completely off topic but this is something i just had to get off my chest.

  9. Bob
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    I believe it was in an interview with Rand that she said that she wasn’t a follower of her philosophy though she was the founder.

    She wrote her novels to express the people she wanted to meet, the people she thought were great. Another words she wrote the novels to show the people she would respect more than those around her.

    The followers she has grabbed since her writings were published was inevitable and she understood that. There would be the usual parasites that look at her ideals and think of her as a god. She didn’t want it, but she knew it was to happen.

    Greatness comes with parasites and moochers. Its the individual’s actions that will show how they will react to a grain of salt, but there would be no way to get rid of them.

    The institute, I believe, was founded to help objectivists look and find people that have a similar aspect of the philosophy, help those that believe the philosophy learn more about the necessities of life like science and math, not to harbor it and make it a collective frenzy.

    I am an objectivist with my own path; away from everyone including Rand herself.

  10. Posted February 1, 2008 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Just because you had a bad experience at one objectivist forum is not a reason to write all of them off. You were in very authoritarian orthodox group. Not all forums are like that. Each group is different and has its own personality. Take a look at Objectivist Living at http://www.objectivistliving.com

  11. reasonmrsmith
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Bob, I appreciate your thoughts.

    Kat, your comments are fair. I am somewhat familiar with the work you and Michael do on ObjectivistLiving.com. It seems to be a valuable resource. One day I hope to find the time to take advantage of it.

  12. Posted February 14, 2008 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    I came here hoping to find some refreshing perspective on Ayn Rand. I really don’t think it’s possible. People really consider her a philosopher?

    Joshua Harwood
    http://www.IHatePacoAhlgren.com

  13. reasonmrsmith
    Posted February 14, 2008 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Joshua, I can only speak for myself. I don’t care whether Ayn Rand is regarded as a philosopher, and I don’t spend a lot of personal time debating this issue for myself. I don’t care. When I read Ayn Rand I find a set of values that are in large part consistent with the values that I already hold – namely that men and women of value play their part to bring us as far from the primitive jungles as possible – while always focusing on themselves and their contributions rather than getting caught up in distractions (namely – getting in other people’s way). Honesty, integrity, freedom, dedication, and the pursuit of a meaningful life – as judged by the live’er, not by society – those are values that I hold closely. Ayn Rand helps me explore and refine these values through her writing, and I find that valuable. What else matters?

  14. Posted July 7, 2008 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    We are not alone. The book
    “HIStory of Mankind” is unfolding as I write these words. While there are billions of characters in billions of events in this already finished book, we are not alone for the Invisible One who owns and controls the Universe exists. The beauty of all of these is that a glimpse of the HISstory was given to us in HIS WORD, the incarnate God in the person of Jesus Christ, AND not all of us are aware of His written Word: The Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth…

    Yes, there is Darkness, but I and some of my family and some of my friends can see the Light at the end of the tunnel of this Universe!
    Dan

  15. Jon Croft
    Posted July 12, 2009 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    an absolutely pathetic attempt to escape from reason.


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