AYN RAND'S "OBJECTIVISM" IS DEAD! LONG LIVE THE RANDIANS!
That's the profoundly provocative message of L&P colleague Arthur Silber in his essay"Please Do Not Call Me an 'Objectivist'," at the Light of Reason blog. And it's a message with which I find myself largely in agreement.
I say"largely" because I know, deep down, that, in terms of the fundamentals of Ayn Rand's framework, both Arthur and I are certainly in sync with"Objectivism," the name that Rand chose for her philosophy. It is an integrated system of thought—of realism, egoism, individualism, and capitalism—and it irks me that those of us who embrace it may end up forfeiting the"Objectivist" label to those who undermine its essential radicalism. Given the fact that I've been calling myself a"dialectical libertarian" now for about ten years, I suppose I forfeited that label some time ago.
But it is hard to disguise one's disenchantment with what has become of"Objectivism" in an era of increasing US government intervention at home and abroad. Too many of its most visible spokespeople have become apologists for neoconservatism, at war with Rand's radical legacy, which I discuss here, here, and here.
I, myself, have suggested that there might be a developing distinction between"Objectivism" and"Randianism." As I argue here, it is conceivable that future generations will distinguish between"Objectivist" and"Randian" schools of thought, where the"Objectivist" label would designate strict adherence to every detail of Rand's philosophic framework, and"Randian" might designate"of, relating to, or resembling" Rand's philosophic framework. In this instance, one can say that"Randian" is the broader designation, within which"Objectivist" is one possibility.
Rand herself was a bit uncomfortable with those who would have called themselves"Randians" or"Randists"; she wrote that she was"much too conceited to allow such a use of [her] name." On this point, she expressed"sympathy for Karl Marx who, on being told about some outrageous statements made by some Marxists, answered: 'But I am not a Marxist.'" So, she cautioned:"If you agree with some tenets of Objectivism, but disagree with others, do not call yourself an Objectivist; give proper authorship credit for the parts you agree with—and then indulge in any flights of fancy you wish, on your own."
With that advice in mind, I once entertained writing an article entitled"Why I No Longer Consider Myself an Objectivist." I long suspected that if I'd authored such a piece, my critics would have simply retorted:"Whoever said that you ever were an Objectivist?" Indeed, given my self-conscious absorption of lessons from Aristotle, Carl Menger, Herbert Spencer, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, F. A. Hayek, Karl Marx, and Bertell Ollman, among others, I've long been accused of engaging in eclectic"flights of fancy" by the official, orthodox"guardians" of"Objectivism." But since these guardians themselves have become veritable performance artists in their selective re-creation of Rand's philosophy, bracketing out anything of any lasting radical political value that Rand ever uttered, I'd say"Objectivism" is dead. Long dead. We are all Randians now... even if I'm still convinced, on some level, that some of us are better"Objectivists" than others.
Paraphrasing Ayn Rand's conclusion from her essay,"For the New Intellectual," we might say:"There is an ancient slogan that applies to our present position: 'The king is dead—long live the king!' We can say, with the same dedication to the future: 'The Objectivists are dead—long live the Objectivists!'—and then proceed to fulfill the responsibility which that honorable title had once implied."
Reading Arthur's post reminds me of the heavy burden of such a responsibility, especially in an era when human authenticity, dignity, and freedom are at stake, demanding the integrated, radical response that Ayn Rand pioneered.
comments powered by Disqus
Kurt Kawohl - 12/29/2003
Ayn Rand stated...An individualist is a person who says: "I will not run anyone's life nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule or be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone - nor sacrifice anyone to myself."
-- Ayn Rand, "Textbook of Americanism"
Atheists have expanded on Rand’s philosophy by adapting it for their purposes by claiming that this adds validity to their stance of the nonexistence of spiritualism. Spiritualism is the philosophical viewpoint maintaining that the spirit is the prime element of reality or actuality. The Atheist assertion that God does not exist is tethered to the same antiquated beliefs as that of the majority of believers in Christianity, Judaism, Islam and various other religious denominations whose monotheistic God has the characteristics of a ruler, master and dominator. Atheists have understandably rejected a God who would subject them to slavery during their lifetime by requiring servitude and repentance and after a physical death, their spirits/souls would be subjected by a God who would furthermore require this for eternity.
In order to make a connection with spirituality and psychology and/or Objectivism we must first examine whether there is proof of the existence of a spirit. Einstein felt that "God" may very well be the "energy" that is in all matter and energy, that cannot be separated from matter/energy. I submit that God is the pure energy and pure spiritual intellect of the spiritual realm.
How do you touch and feel without emotion or sense; which is spirit; without having it recorded by your subconscious where the spirit resides? The spirit is spirit and not a religious force and is neither heaven sent, nor heaven inspired, though some people via deep meditation can have their spirit interact with the spiritual. Sentience is the ability to sense, capability of feeling, consciousness.
The spirit or soul exists in the collective mental processes of the subconscious and often controls what one writes and thinks. The soul and spirit are often considered identical, though the soul has also been referred to as the vessel for the spirit. The subconscious part of the mind and is also where the mental processes of creativity originate. The conscience adds to and stores life experiences with the spirit/soul. If the conscience is anesthetized by other than righteous conduct the existence of the spirit gradually fades and is eventually extinguished. Unless one is completely emotionless, a spirit is present. One may say that emotions are psychological, (of the psyche) structuralism, psychobiological, but they are nevertheless of the spirit; which also subscribes to a form of natural selection. The mind is unable to consciously communicate with the spirit because the conscience is its only communicator.
The conscience is guided by its capacity to disseminate between pure and improper acceptable social norms. A determination is made by the conscience to abide by either the pure and proper, or to stretch the norm. The soul is also the data storage area in the subconscious and is not subject to emotions; it can however trigger physical reflexes and responses. When the spirit leaves its host (physical demise) it has to be received by and interlace with the spirit host or it ceases its existence; upon the bonding with the spirit host, the spirit continues eternally. The spirit, when the mind is in mental stasis, can at times connect with the Supreme Spirit, as evidenced by messengers. (Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc.) The mind's ability to interpret this connection and messages is often deficient, hence we have the creation of various religions.
The spirit can not exist without a host. If the host or a mother with reasoning capabilities is not available during that time, the child's spirit bonds temporarily with the spirit of its physical provider. At about age 1 1/2 the spirit separates from the mother and the child develops it's own spirit. The conscience relays information to the spirit. Consciousness arises when contact has been made with a base; (sense or emotion) this is when spirit initiates its first recording. The spirit is the database of the senses and emotions.
There are several levels of consciousness:
A. On a scale of 1 to 10 rating, with consciousness being level 1 where the spirit accumulates data and triggers emotions.
B. The upper level of sub consciousness is at level 2; involuntary subconscious reactions are sometimes manifested.
C. The dream level at 3; a series of thoughts and visions are introduced.
Level 4 is deep sleep.
D. Hibernation or very deep sleep is at level 5.
E. At level 6 unconsciousness sets in.
F. Spiritual data is stored between levels 6 and 9.
G. At 10 the subconscious is at a point of physical imminent death.
The "deserving" spirit that has established lines of communications with Spirit of God is transmitted to the spiritual realm, filtered and cleansed of all negative emotions; then it bonds with the Supreme Spirit.
When a personality disorder affects the data input process, data is filtered. Brain injury does not supersede the soul, at that point data input simply ceases. If one seems to have severely impaired reasoning capabilities it does not necessarily mean that reasoning capabilities are not, or never were present. Sometimes reasoning capabilities can not be displayed or communicated to another.
In this 21st Century, the Age of Technology, we are still plagued by religious beliefs that are a contributing cause toward terrorism, killings and wars between nations. Belief in a deity who caused catastrophes, punished people and created the universe out of nothingness as if by magic was brought about by hysteria and superstitions. This thought process needs to be reassessed and brought up to date. Open-minded people must use common sense to determine whether this so-called deity was incorrectly perceived, misinterpreted and misunderstood by the masses of a bygone era.
Perception plays a major role in religions. There are numerous interpretations of the Scriptures, hence there are various sects who use the same source, the Bible or the Qur'an, but come to different conclusions. Religious differences are acceptable by the majority as long as fanaticism does not cause physical confrontations. The ironic fact is that the followers of these religions all claim to live by the Word of God. Many claim that God has personally talked to their messengers who have relayed these Words of God to others. Apparently the Words of God were either misinterpreted, God is contradicting himself, or we start all over again by each side claiming to live by and having heard the Word of God correctly.
When establishing an association with the present day problems between Jews, Christians and Muslims, we can come up with numerous answers, however if there were no distinctions between Muslims, Jews, and Christians, strife would be nonexistent. The major distinction is religion. Muslims have been led to believe that they must expand Islam by any means at their disposal in order to please
Allah/God. In many regions occupied by Muslims, conflicts have arisen with their neighbors.
When peoples' concept of God is flawed, corrections, truth, logic and common sense thereof must eventually prevail. Human fallibility and misconceptions have labeled God for past millennia as one who interferes with the natural forces and free will of people by threatening punishment to those who disobey his bidding. The God of our ancestors had to be humanized in order to have the masses adapt the thought processes to that time period. The Spiritual Existence (God) has not change with the times but our perception of who or what this God is should change as societies eliminate their superstitious beliefs. God, the Ultimate Spirit consists of Supreme Purity, Pure Intelligence, Pure Logic, etc., is not encumbered by human attributes and has no needs, or a desire to be worshiped, prayed to, exalted, venerated, deified, or anything else that we have to offer.
Human characteristics are to exercise upon others: power, control, dominance, destruction, punishment, revenge, judgment. Everyone is individually and personally totally responsible for his own soul's destiny. The destruction of civilizations, most sufferings and premature deaths are due to human frailties, stupidity or imperfections and are not God's doings. God, exists in a spiritual realm and never has and never will interfere with anything on earth or in the universe. God is interested in and is involved in humanity, but does not interfere in any way in our physical lives. God guides the development of the universe and everything thereon like a Master Planner. Our relationship and interaction of our spirit with the Spirit of God is for our, not God's benefit.
Spiritual transcendence of a person's spirit into a “Dimensional Beyondness” was achieved by most well known religious leaders as well as by myself. Abraham, Moses, Noah, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Krishna, Bahá'u'lláh, Zoroaster, Ahmad, Nanak and many others of various faiths had achieved spiritual enlightenment by mastering the art of spiritual transcendence.
My spirit has seen “experienced God” and if I'm lying I'm risking the survival of my soul...and I KNOW that my soul will be with God...God is spiritual and is the progressive and accumulative spiritual intelligence of the universe; an accumulation of all the righteous souls who have passed into the spiritual realm. God does not and never has meddled in the tangible universe. It is of no importance during our physical life whether God exists or not if one so chooses. Whether or not one believes in a spirit or God really makes no difference to God. Righteous living will determine the continuance and destiny of our spirit/soul.
IONS - Institute of Noetic Sciences
World Interfaith Congress
United Communities of Spirit
Alliance for Spiritual Community
Interfaith Voices for Peace And Justice
- Judith Kelleher Schafer, 72, a historian of slavery and prostitution, dies
- Northwestern celebrates Garry Wills with a book in his honor
- Conservatives go after UCLA's historian James Gelvin
- Laura Hillenbrand writes her masterpieces despite suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- New PBS DVD From Henry Louis Gates Jr. Explores African Influence on the Caribbean