Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ayn Rand on My Life

"It is the subtler manifestations of the anti-conceptual mentality that are more tragic and harder to deal with. ...the products of modern education who do not like the nature of what they feel, but have never learned to think."

-from "The Missing Link" in Philosophy: Who Needs It

Italics mine. Isn't this what I've been saying all along? This book is validating. Maybe some would argue that's a bad thing. So far, though, I'm sort of admiring the way she is ripping everyone else to tiny stringy tatters of bullshit. I know lots of what she says isn't really very well...accepted. Err in any case, I'm going to go on and find out more about that. Point being, all the stuff she has said so far makes an incredible amount of sense, more than I knew she made. I haven't really read her since my freshman year of high school and if I don't know how to think now I certainly hadn't the faintest idea back then. POINT being, I'm curious to see if there gets to be a time when I can feel myself starting to disagree with what she's saying. Certainly she puts things very strongly, but that's one thing I've never been able to do, so maybe it's time to take cues. It's tricky business.

Anyways, let's have some haters. Convince me we're both wrong.


Richard said...

I read Rand's fiction when I was in my mid-twenties, but had doubts and confusions about all sorts of things she wrote.

In my early thirties I met someone who had read some of her non-fiction and she explained a few points to me in a way that showed me they did make sense. I realized, to myself, that I could not ask her to explain everything for me. I decided I would have to read Rand more carefully and think through the things that puzzled me, for myself, as much as I could. (What a concept, eh!)

I decided to re-read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged first, to revisit, or to see what other, things I had not understood. When I finished the rape scene in The Fountainhead I was puzzled. Why would Rand present a rape by her ideal man?

I went back to the first time Dominique saw him in the Quarry, and began lightly underlining everything that indicated or hinted at Dominique's view of Roark and his actions.

By the time I reached the rape scene, I realized she was dying to have him take her, and was subtly showing him. She was, however, fighting her feelings and thoughts about him --even though they were correct-- because of her view of herself being at odds with the rest of humanity.

When Roark had left her home, it was clear to me that, she was in awe of her experience as being exactly what she desperately wanted. In fact it was nearly pornographically explicit to me!

Roark had read her signs and knew what she wanted, and he knew she was what he wanted too. He traded with her, on her terms.

Rand was not presenting an ideal sexual relationship for other men and women to engage in, as some foolish readers and critics claim. She was showing a very unique romantic situation, based on the nature and character of Dominique.

I realized I would have to read the rest of the book for the express purpose of understanding Dominique. Roark was much easier to understand... except for how he was able to understand Dominique so well!

That completely changed the way I read Rand's works. After having read her non-fiction, I read both novels a third time, and Atlas two more times after that. Always, I read with distinct purposes. Each new purpose(s) resulted in my reading sentences and paragraphs (on one topic, of plot or theme, or another) with a new perspective. Again and again, I discovered something deeper in Rand's reasoned intent for choosing and presenting those words the way she did. I discovered that, in Atlas, an action or piece of dialog that was puzzling was often, subtly, explained in subsequent paragraphs. There is even a paragraph presented word for word, twice! Once in the first chapter and once in the last. It is about Halley's 5th Concerto. If you understand the context well enough, its meaning is completely different in the last chapter, when compared with its use in the first chapter.

Reading her non-fiction was sometimes easy and sometimes hard. E.g., I had to read An Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology once through, lightly, to get a general grasp of what the main ideas were...knowing I did not properly understand them. Then I read it painstakingly, teasing apart every more difficult or profound sentence. I was careful to be sure I grasped the context she intended, the proper meaning of the words as she intended in that context, and their implications for subsequent ideas. I put a limited number of marginal comments in, as I went. It was slow going, but hugely more rewarding. A few weeks after I finished it I decided to read it again, smoothly. It shone through wonderfully, and was even more clear to me.

Equipped with knowledge no educational system provides, at any academic level, reading her fiction again was a stunning experience of another's intelligence. She showed me my mind.

All that, plus recorded or live lectures and articles by her scholars, taught me enough to see through the arguments of those who appear to have determined faults in Rand's ideas. Instead, I could see and even name the kinds of errors they were making. Usually, they erred in their interpretation of what she was saying, and then would 'demonstrate' that what she was saying was wrong. It would be funny if it were not so harmful, as there is at least one website devoted to that technique.

Being in California, you may have the opportunity to actually go to some of the local events put on by The Ayn Rand Institute. Their work is now starting to have an impact in the media and in a few instances The Association for Objective Law has influenced Supreme Court decisions.

I wish you Right Premises, Emily.

パイパソ専門 said...

1 0 万 もらえたからいいものの、大事な息子はまだジンジンしてまふww(・w・)