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Cliff
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14 May 2007, 8:27 am

Hello,
I read the recent thread by nutbag (thanks, it was a nice one!) and was reminded about Ayn Rand and Objectivism.
Anybody surmise as to whether A.R. had Asperger's?
My whole life (or at least since I read Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged) I considered myself an objectivist because this philosphy just "clicked" with me from the outset. Then about 2 years ago I learned about Aspergerism and realised why I thought the way that I did. Objectivism seems to be ideally suited to people with A.S. but I also believe that it is an advanced philosophy with many virtues and advantages over other systems of thought. The only lacking component seems to be humanism; that is, the full consideration of the consequences of ones actions on other people.
Anyone else here really into Objectivism?

Cliff



rushfanatic
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14 May 2007, 8:41 am

Just a quick reference to her and Rush's Neil Peart..... The album 2112 is based on Ayn Rand's writings...... There was an earlier post debating whether Neil Peart himself has Asperger's...HHMMMM.. Great minds think alike....Have a Great Day!



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14 May 2007, 9:09 am

You know ... now that you say this, I have also wondered if Ayn Rand was an Aspie because I also embraced her ideology ... and it also kind of makes sense because if Aspies are thought to lack empathy, then it also fits

Quote:
the full consideration of the consequences of ones actions on other people
that Objectivism lacks.

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Cade
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14 May 2007, 10:03 am

I admit I'm biased since I'm philosophically opposed to her "Objectivism" (which is oddly enough, extremely subjective and solipsist) and I loath her as a person, largely because she often failed to consider the consequences of her actions on others, either willingly to not. I see her like Hilter or Stalin, power-hungry. ego-centric narcissistics with sociopathic tendencies which should not be attributed to AS just because they "lacked empathy," were "ego-centric" or had "detached thinking." Sociopaths and NPDs have those traits too, not just ASDs. I know her writings are popular right now, but that's no surprise when people today are unusually self-absorbed and narcissistic with obsessions with forms of power like money and celebrity. You do the math.

So, no, I do not think she was AS nor her philosophy a product of an AS mind. She was a short-sighted, materialistic narcissistic, and that's very, very clear to anyone not enthralled with her. That an Aspie would fail to see the distinction and fall in love with her is no surprise either, sadly. Aspies are damn gulliable and not always as sharp witted as they assume themselves to be, for starters. But also like any other human, they are just as easily suckered by anything that "feels good" to their established way of thinking (although Aspies often like to think they're somehow immune to such"NT" failings, LOL). Hardly an "objective" choice, ironically, and certainly not one that would encourage genuine philosophical enrichment, but whatever. As a teacher and tutor of philosophy and other subjects, I've seen it all before. The world is full of fools looking for a god who'll agree with them, and so "like unto like," as Thomas Aquinas said.

Just in case my inference got lost amid my Rand loathing, I wish to stress that any time you think an individual ideology is "ideally suited" for you, that ought to be a huge, neon red flag. That's not being philosophical, that's being stagnant. Philosophy is a pursuit and an endeavor, one that ought challenge you, take you outside yourself and broaden your mind. That eans it very well will feel very foreign and uncomfortable at first, maybe even hostile (depending on your stage of intellectual growth). If it keeps you pidgeon-holed in the dark just because it's warm and cozy and familiar, it's not philosophy - it is, from a philosophical standpoint, damnation.



Cliff
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14 May 2007, 10:18 am

Hello, thanks for your comments. Ayn Rand didn't strike me as being particularly narcissistic or sociopathic; but my Asperger filter probably clouds judgement to some extent(?) The popularity of objectivism today seems to lie with a lot of business people who don't give a hoot for what Rand referred to as Individual Rights. Success by all means, but not by any means - ie not if it infringes upon the individual rights of others.

Cliff A.



Cliff
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14 May 2007, 10:29 am

"I wish to stress that any time you think an individual ideology is "ideally suited" for you, that ought to be a huge, neon red flag. That's not being philosophical, that's being stagnant. Philosophy is a pursuit and an endeavor, one that ought challenge you, take you outside yourself and broaden your mind. That eans it very well will feel very foreign and uncomfortable at first, maybe even hostile (depending on your stage of intellectual growth). If it keeps you pidgeon-holed in the dark just because it's warm and cozy and familiar, it's not philosophy - it is, from a philosophical standpoint, damnation."

Valid points! I see there is a difference between learning something new and just agreeing with something familiar - ie the known.

Cliff A.



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14 May 2007, 10:50 am

Hi Cade,

You wrote:

Quote:
Philosophy is a pursuit and an endeavor, one that ought challenge you, take you outside yourself and broaden your mind. That eans it very well will feel very foreign and uncomfortable at first, maybe even hostile (depending on your stage of intellectual growth).

I had to smile reading this because this kind of fits your reaction to Ayn Rand's philosophy. You saw it as uncomfortable and a bit hostile and Hitler like, not? So maybe, Ayn Rand was trying to teach you something out of the box, that you instictively defended against.

I think that you might have drawn the wrong conclusions from what Objectivism is. What Rand was promoting to my understanding, was the empowerment of the individual, the empowerment of each individual and to do that one has to be a bit immune to all the social stereotypes, social roles, social expectations, etc. Ignore them, and erase them from ones conscious mind.

I think you are judging her a bit harshly when you say she resembled Hitler and Stalin. These massacered millions of people using racism and fascism. I do not think that Ayn Rand was promoting such philosophy or ideas.

As a woman of her time she was facing many of the social stereotypes and prejudices against women. Like being equal to men and capable of the same creative thinking, same business mind and ability. Heck, women were largely expected to stay home and raise a family. What she promoted with her books and ideas was to erase gender roles, social status quo, and all the 'boxes' that prohibit individual uninhibeted development (and to my opinion also empowerment).

By living towards the fulfilling of an 'objective' disregarding the social expectations, the gender role stereotyping, etc. each individual can tap into their true talents and potential and fulfill that potential. I see Bill Gates and others like him as an example of her ideas and philosophy. And why is it so bad to be successful and make a lot of money if one has used their talents and potential to reach that goal? Must successful people resemble Hitler or Stalin? No! I don't think so.

Maybe, your judgement is clouded by your own feelings of 'inadequacy' and 'failure' that have been imprinted in you slowly and surely by being told that AS is a disability, a lack of so many abilities that NTs have that you have come to feel that you have nothing in common with successful people who make lots of money.

Unfortunately, you are wrong. Some of us, have not given up, have not sat down tired and weary in spite of all the 'walls' we face every day in our lives. We keep on searching for 'doors' and 'windows' on those walls and dig our own paths with our bare hands.

No it's NOT easy, but damn me, I would rather die than allow some NT clinical psychologist label me as disabled!

I hope this helped clarify some things.

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14 May 2007, 8:53 pm

I love Ayn Rand. While I do not find her philosophy to be complete, neither do I find any one else' philosophy complete either. And while most philosophers I have read seem hell bent on picking apart every other philosopher - and engaging in mental mastrubation, Rand's philosophy is real world.

I know it may seem heartless, but none of the Rand heroes ever takes! They trade, and all are strikingly moral. I see no reason why a Rand hero would not voluntarily give charitibly for those who CANNOT, none are wanting to give by reason of force to those who WILL NOT.

I find her philosophy genuinely human and fair.


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14 May 2007, 9:37 pm

I like Ayn's basic idea. When she tried to take the basic idea - think your way through life - and expand it to apply to everything, it started getting a little fuzzy. Feelings are not subject to rational dictates, much as we want them to be so.
I wasn't always as curious as I am now. Not until exposure to Ayn Rand did I ever run across the idea that rational thought and learning and engineering and building is a moral value. Imagine what would happen if kids were raised with the idea that they were fulfilling their moral and intellectual destiny when they did their algebra homework, instead of learning that they have to suffer through yet another drudgery of life.
She also gave some kind of sense to modern politics, where a great many politicians do not see law as a tool to correct injustice, but rather as a way to send a message to this or that group. The "Do you really think we want those laws observed?" speech from Dr. Ferris.
I've seen a huge number of people walking through life, and the person they distrust most is themselves. They do not trust their rationality and problem solving abilities, and they refuse to challenge that notion. There are others who have no problem believing wholeheartedly and without doubts two contradictory ideas, or an idea which isn't supported by known facts.
I want to know and understand everything, and Ayn's the reason why. No, I'm not an Objectivist in the most accurate sense of the term, because her philosophy is the basic description of how I pursue knowledge, insterad of the central focus of my learning. I didn't read very much of her nonfiction before I got bored. I wanted to learn about tangible reality and practical skills. Everything about those skills and reality that I could cram into my brain.
That's the real point of Rand.
I buy engineering and mechanical books now. I've settled on a philosophy, but in no way shape or form is my mind stagnant. Why would choosing a philosophy that urges thinking make somebody's mind stagnant, just because such a concept dovetails into their personality the best?



igorama
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15 May 2007, 2:56 pm

Cade wrote:
I admit I'm biased since I'm philosophically opposed to her "Objectivism" (which is oddly enough, extremely subjective and solipsist) and I loath her as a person, largely because she often failed to consider the consequences of her actions on others, either willingly to not. I see her like Hilter or Stalin, power-hungry. ego-centric narcissistics with sociopathic tendencies which should not be attributed to AS just because they "lacked empathy," were "ego-centric" or had "detached thinking." Sociopaths and NPDs have those traits too, not just ASDs. I know her writings are popular right now, but that's no surprise when people today are unusually self-absorbed and narcissistic with obsessions with forms of power like money and celebrity. You do the math.

So, no, I do not think she was AS nor her philosophy a product of an AS mind. She was a short-sighted, materialistic narcissistic, and that's very, very clear to anyone not enthralled with her. That an Aspie would fail to see the distinction and fall in love with her is no surprise either, sadly. Aspies are damn gulliable and not always as sharp witted as they assume themselves to be, for starters. But also like any other human, they are just as easily suckered by anything that "feels good" to their established way of thinking (although Aspies often like to think they're somehow immune to such"NT" failings, LOL). Hardly an "objective" choice, ironically, and certainly not one that would encourage genuine philosophical enrichment, but whatever. As a teacher and tutor of philosophy and other subjects, I've seen it all before. The world is full of fools looking for a god who'll agree with them, and so "like unto like," as Thomas Aquinas said.

Just in case my inference got lost amid my Rand loathing, I wish to stress that any time you think an individual ideology is "ideally suited" for you, that ought to be a huge, neon red flag. That's not being philosophical, that's being stagnant. Philosophy is a pursuit and an endeavor, one that ought challenge you, take you outside yourself and broaden your mind. That eans it very well will feel very foreign and uncomfortable at first, maybe even hostile (depending on your stage of intellectual growth). If it keeps you pidgeon-holed in the dark just because it's warm and cozy and familiar, it's not philosophy - it is, from a philosophical standpoint, damnation.


Great post! I agree 100%. Ayn Rand makes the most basic logical error at the root of her "philosophy" and then piles tons of bs on top of it to justify her extreme capitalist ideology.



vbondy
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15 May 2007, 3:21 pm

I tend to distrust anything that can be referred to as a "system of thought," as any adherence to such a thing tends to almost immediately replace actual thought.



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15 May 2007, 3:42 pm

vbondy wrote:
I tend to distrust anything that can be referred to as a "system of thought," as any adherence to such a thing tends to almost immediately replace actual thought.


Agreed. Philosophy is not the search through systems of thought others have developed to find one you like to adhere to but a search for ideas to aid you in developing and expanding upon your own.

No system is ever "the right system" or even complete. Philosophy is a personal thing, different for everyone and constantly changing.

For example, if someone tried to define me, they would end up with a strange mix of socialism, realism, existentialism, cynicism, a dash of humanism and a dozen other things.

You'll never be happy trying to fit your mind into someone else's parameters. Create your own. "The philosophy of Bob" so to speak.


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15 May 2007, 4:57 pm

Quote:

Philosophy is a pursuit and an endeavor, one that ought challenge you, take you outside yourself and broaden your mind. That eans it very well will feel very foreign and uncomfortable at first, maybe even hostile (depending on your stage of intellectual growth).


Wisely put! :D



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15 May 2007, 5:06 pm

rushfanatic wrote:
Just a quick reference to her and Rush's Neil Peart..... The album 2112 is based on Ayn Rand's writings...... There was an earlier post debating whether Neil Peart himself has Asperger's...HHMMMM.. Great minds think alike....Have a Great Day!


I didn't know that! :o


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15 May 2007, 5:08 pm

Did Ayn Rand have other Aspie traits? I didn't think you could tell if someone was an Aspie simply based on a philosophy they may have come up with.