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builttospill


Feb 18, 2004, 3:00 PM
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I've read a lot of Ayn Rand's stuff, and I was fairly impressionable at the time I read it (18 years old, going through some questioning of my faith and what not---that was only about a year ago). I never subscribed fully to her philosophy, I had some of the qualms with it that others do. I've realized though, that for me it makes some sense. I'm not saying I'm going to try to emulate the characters from her book (by the way, the sexual scenes are a bit weird for my liking......as someone else mentioned). However, I do see some positives in her philosophy.

How many of you people out there get mad when you see frivolous lawsuits? How many of you say to yourself to the people who get fat on mcdonald's food and then sue the company "christ, take some personal responsibility for your own actions"????? That is part of what Ayn Rand advocates.

I know that as a kid growing up in a religious household, I always dreaded service to others (when it was forced on me)....that was part of what my rebellion against my religion and toward objectivism was fueled by. How many of you want to live your life for yourself? I'm seeing a lot of you saying that this is selfish, immature, unrealistic, etc. Personally, I think there is nothing more rewarding than taking care of yourself, taking responsibility for your own actions, relishing fully in your own successes, and accepting your own failures. How many of you guys enjoy climbing partially because it is an individual sport where the success or failure of your mission relies entirely upon you (well, belaying is the exception, but you get the point)??? That is what Ayn Rand advocates....

How many of you believe that human beings are capable of amazing things, both physically, intellectually, etc??? That is what Ayn Rand is saying.....humans are capable of amazing things. Their capacity for greatness is huge. How do we go about tapping into this capacity for greatness? By letting people succeed and fail on their own more or less. By encouraging people to strive for success, and not bailing them out if they are lazy and choose not to pursue it. That is what Ayn Rand advocates.

How many of you are sickened by people who think they are better than others or doing more for this world than others based on their service to others? I'm not sure about this point, but Ayn Rand believes that they are harming the world and the people they serve because they are not allowing them to reach their full potential (on their own). Come to think of it, I do more or less agree with this one. If you were climbing some tough route, would you feel less of a sense of accomplishment if you had to get pulled up or something? How pissed would you be if your belayer did this without asking you if you needed it first? Think about it.

Atlas Shrugged is listed as the 2nd most influential book on the American people, I believe the survey was conducted by the Library of Congress. It is influential not because it had/has a wide readership, but because some of the people who read it change the way they live their lives, just like the Bible and other books that were listed in the top 10 (I know the book of mormon was somewhere between 4 and 10).

Sure, it's an idealized world. It certainly is exaggerated to make a point (although some have said that Rand was not exaggerating in her own head......I'm not sure). It does include some notable and significant omissions (there are no children portrayed in the book, except Dagny and Francisco when they are young....although both are already mature). The philosophy in its purest form (as Ayn Rand's own personal life attests) does not work the way the world currently is (both what philosophy does.....communism does not function unless we lived in an ideal society, same with just about every philosophy I've seen). However, the SPIRIT of her philosophy can still be lived, and it can make people more happy. I've adapted the philosophy with parts of others that I think make sense, and I think my philosophy makes a lot of sense (it is a somewhat odd mixture of objectivism, libertarianism and transcendentalism). The principles of objectivism are worth looking into.


builttospill


Feb 18, 2004, 3:01 PM
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As for one of the original questions.....why does Atlas Shrugged appeal to climbers? It is because of what I wrote in my post.....taking personal responsibility.....accepting failure or success as a function of yourself, and no one else, etc.


dbarandiaran


Feb 18, 2004, 6:57 PM
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wow there are some strong opinions on this one...

for those that complain that this book is too long, or that it is too repetitive, boring, etc. i say THROW AWAY YOUR TV! if you can't read an 80 page soliloquoy (sp?) highlighting and explaining the major points of a philosophy, then your attention span is too short. It would take that much space anyway to fully and eloquently explain a philosophical viewpoint. sure it may be repetitive, but if you've ever taken a course in philosphy you will find that rather repetitive too.

And who is John Galt? His spirit lives in all of us, the spirit of determination and of self-sufficiency is, in my opinion, a required portion of a climber's personality. Does that mean that we are all John Galts? no, but certain aspects of his personality, those main aspects, seem to be pretty common among climbers.


dingus


Feb 19, 2004, 7:15 AM
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I've read Atlas Shrugged a good 5 times...

I don't believe I woulda told that one.

DMT


Partner justin


Feb 19, 2004, 7:21 AM
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Damn, I've never read anything five times. Well, except for American Psycho and I'd only admit that on the net.


dingus


Feb 19, 2004, 7:23 AM
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To dingus: Read faster.

Why? So I can torture myself more frequently and with greater intensity?

Can't I just borrow that book on tape (um, no I can't, now that I think about it) and hold the fast forward button part way down? Wouldn't that accomplish the same thing?

DMT


cyberhobo


Feb 19, 2004, 8:01 AM
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I read Atlas Shrugged at the same as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. It's a useful contrast, because the two authors use many of the same literary devices towards opposing viewpoints. It reveals some of the strengths and weaknesses of each, and makes it easier to discard the romantic drama they use in their arguments.


dingus


Feb 19, 2004, 10:06 AM
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for those that complain that this book is too long, or that it is too repetitive, boring, etc. i say THROW AWAY YOUR TV! if you can't read an 80 page soliloquoy (sp?) highlighting and explaining the major points of a philosophy, then your attention span is too short.

It wasn't the first 80 page diatribe that put me off. It was the 10th or the 11th that did me in. And each of them simply restated what had already been said.

I read a lot, mostly for entertainment. We are a reading household. We have a 20" TV with rabbit ears on it and 5 usable channels. Needless to say, that encourages reading. My daughter at 12 has literally (get it, literally? hehe, I just KILL MYSELF sometimes!) read more books than most adults.

With some authors I reach a lifetime saturation limit. Stephen King, for example. As a teenager I ate that crap up, read everything he wrote. Then one day, half way through Cujo (when it was new) I hit my King limit. Haven't read a word since, not one.

Hit that limit with other authors, musicians (I have every Led Zeppelin original vinyl album and about 10 years ago hit the wall... now my radio policy is "No Led Zeppelin, None of the Time.") and people.

Ayn Rand was special... she hit my lifetime limit inside of one book. She's not the only one. I've read 900 pages of 1000 page epics only to realize I didn't give a damn about how it came out. ROUND FILE.

Who is John Galt? Who cares!

DMT


flagpolewizard


Feb 19, 2004, 11:45 AM
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I have read many of her works although it has been some time (her short stories that she wrote early on are by far my favorites, even though they were never meant to be published) and I will not claim to be an expert on her philosiphy or anyone elses, but I did notice one consistent thing about them, the various "heros" of her books and many others that people say inspired or enlightened them

the "heros" never spent time believeing in or bieng driven by anything external, they never read enlightening or inspirational books in the stories, they were pretty consistently guided internally, and just an honest observation, but I don't think her own ideal characters would have found her books to be of any value

one last thing about any rand, russian women are amazing, admitedly thats why I read her books in the first place, thanks Svetlana


smellyhippie


Feb 19, 2004, 12:02 PM
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To me Ayn Rand's view of the world is not moral. The book was well written, but annoying in that it was merely a vehicle for, as Dingus wrote, sending a message
over
and over
and over again.

Nate


okinawatricam


Feb 19, 2004, 2:42 PM
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I think Ann would agree with you about her book not being moral, if you use a christain based moral defenition.

With that said, I am Atheis, yet I would not consider myself inmoral. Actually I am much more "moral" than most christains I meet.


pbjosh


Feb 19, 2004, 3:04 PM
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With some authors I reach a lifetime saturation limit. Stephen King, for example. As a teenager I ate that crap up, read everything he wrote. Then one day, half way through Cujo (when it was new) I hit my King limit. Haven't read a word since, not one.

I know what you mean, heh. I couldn't finish Atlast Shrugged. I enjoy though have a hard time finishing books by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Guenter Grass (slow reading for me). War and Peace will put you off Tolstoy when you should be reading Anna Karenina, same for Crime and Punishment killing Dostoevsky when you should be reading The Brothers Karamasov.

I've personally reached the limit with many authors - Stephen King didn't take long though the short stories collection which includes Stand By Me or whatever it was based on I still like, though I doubt I'll re-read. John Irving had a 3 book limit for me. TC Boyle is fun but had a one book limit, too long for the lack of worthy content. Hemmingway had a one book limit for me, can't take it. I don't know if Stephen Crane wrote anything other than Red Badge of Courage but after that crap I'll not bother finding out - probably the book I've most disliked over the years, and I've not really disliked more than a couple.

josh


okinawatricam


Feb 20, 2004, 1:35 PM
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Maybe you just don't enjoy readin. :?


roninthorne


Feb 20, 2004, 1:58 PM
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According to a study done, Atlas Shrugged is the most influential book in the world second only to the Bible. (Note: A book doesn't have to be read by the masses in order to be influential.)


Perhaps the most influential among the people studied, but who were they.. campus eggheads and bluenosed intellectuals, most likely. I'm sorry, but there is no way this study was demographically diverse, or included the teachings of Siddharta, the Torah or the Koran. Are you going to try to tell me that a paperback had a greater impact than the words of Mohammed, Abraham, or Buddha? Sounds like a study done in SLC, or at Bob Jones University.

"Study findings" prove whatever the author is trying to say in their thesis paper, and little else.


roninthorne


Feb 20, 2004, 2:06 PM
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for those that complain that this book is too long, or that it is too repetitive, boring, etc. i say THROW AWAY YOUR TV! if you can't read an 80 page soliloquoy (sp?) highlighting and explaining the major points of a philosophy, then your attention span is too short.

I've read Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Campbell, Locke, SunTzu, Musashi and Hawkings.... some concurrently. Now, what was that about attention span and the inability to understand subtle philosophies?


galt


Feb 20, 2004, 8:17 PM
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Roninthorne: Check out this website:
http://www.atlasshrugged.tv/book.htm

I quote: "Atlas Shrugged is the "second most influential book for Americans today" after the Bible, according to a joint survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club"

Sorry I was off. It's only an influential book for Americans today... but its still a powerful statement seeing as the book has only been around for 47 years.


builttospill


Feb 21, 2004, 1:51 AM
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smellyhippie: What do you find immoral about the philosophy (I am geniunely curious here)? I'm assuming it is that she discourages service to others and "compassion"..........is that right? I agree though, the repetition was a bit much, but I agreed with the points she was making over and over again, so I was able to get through it. I don't know how one of old my english teachers did it (she claims it is her favorite book, but she doesn't seem to agree with the philosophy).

roninthorne: doubtful that a study done in Salt Lake City (what I assume you meant by SLC) would have anything written by Ayn Rand anywhere in the top 10....unless it was a "top 10 books the devil uses to brainwash us." Rand was an atheist and many believe that her following was a cult (I don't have enough info one way or the other to decide). She discouraged service to others, compassion, humility and selflessness.....not exactly something a good mormon boy or girl would want to be caught reading. It made my mom nervous when I read it....for good reason (I was mormon at the time).


okinawatricam


Feb 21, 2004, 3:58 PM
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I think in her pholosophy, she discourages service to others only if it at cost to you.

Take Galts engine, he didn't keeo it to himself, he let those who could afford it have. Seems resonable to me.


jeffers_mz


Feb 21, 2004, 8:34 PM
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Kudos, Unabonger.

**********

Simplistic?

So is a concrete filled trench, but you can build a shed or an accelerator on top of it.

Might have wanted to be a little simpler yet, as some are still unable to grasp what was offered, but then you lose the other end of the spectrum.

Moral?

In Rand's strictest definition?

Maybe.

I am beginning to have the outlines of doubts.

Specifically, regarding the anti-thesis to "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

The parable she used was, as close as I can get from memory, since my copy fell apart a long time ago was, "Every worthless rotter who thinks his need entitles him to his superior's wealth, forgets those below him, who think that their need entitles them to HIS refrigerator" or something like that.

Good math. Indubitable. But is it the full equation?

Where are Einstein's children? Tesla's? Bell's? More importantly, where are the respective intellectual dynasties?

Did Darwin, in saying that the less fit will be more oft denied opportunity to reproduce, accidently or unknowingly imply that the overly fit will be also denied the same opportunity?

There is empirical evidence to suggest that this is the case.

Is there an "evolutionary speed limit"?

If so, the counterpart to the parable becomes "Every hungry capitalist who thinks his ability entitles him to acquire that which he is able, and to keep the fruits to himself, forgets that there are others, more able than himself, with whom he must compete, in an ultimately zero sum environment."

Any edges defined by the co-parable are necessarily diffuse, for the present, anyway, but the natural tendency toward entropy has a discrete quantification, and the amount of mass-energy available for conversion within our grasp is also finite.

If you accept the above reasoning, then the axiom under the parable works out to something like this:

Progress (the center of the bell curve of collective human ability and achievement) will necessarily be constrained to a finite, potentially measurable rate, such that the number of persons rendered obsolete within their own lifetimes does not rise above the threshold at which the collective actions of the disenfranchised negate the advancement of the whole.

From which follows some fascinating math.

Can you quantify the second law's ability to increase entropy, treat it as a discrete physical force, capable of also quantifiable action?

Can you then quantify the minimum energy expenditure necessary to sustain organic life as a function of the enthalpy required for a being of that order?

Establishing the potential of the locally available mass-energy as a limiting factor is, by comparison, easily accomplished, and from here you have the fundamentals required to attempt to build the maximum, minimum, and ideal forward progress (delta collective enthalpy) curves.

Heady stuff.

Thoughts?


mazzystr


Feb 22, 2004, 2:59 AM
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.....not exactly something a good mormon boy or girl would want to be caught reading. It made my mom nervous when I read it....for good reason (I was mormon at the time).

really.

i dated two mormonds that were both highly educated in various philosophies as well as economics and engineering.

could it be that they werent hardcore mormons? (they went to seminary and church twice a week)
-chris


okinawatricam


Feb 22, 2004, 2:20 PM
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Cool, dating two guys. How did you keep track?


builttospill


Feb 23, 2004, 7:01 PM
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I can't speak for all mormon people here.....but in my experience a lot of them have said that you shouldn't read material that goes against the church in anyway (as objectivism does because it is atheistic).......they argue that even if you don't believe in Rand's philosophy, you should "avoid even the appearance of evil." In my experience there are some mormons who are very openminded in terms of education (my dad was one of them.....he has a PhD in economics, and he knows a lot of philosophy and what not) and just know that they don't believe it (my Dad knew a lot of philosophy, but also still believed the church was the one true philosophy), while there were others that feared all types of stuff like that. I'd imagine this is true in most any religion.

A good example is the church's best educational institution, BYU. Other BYU students may hate me for this, but it is not like other schools educationally (and of course socially as well....although that MAY be a good thing). BYU's biology intro class talks a lot about the church, its welfare system, and how biology backs up the church's beliefs. There is also an almost automatic disclaimer on philosophy classes. That's fine for some people, but its not a broad-based objective education like I expected from college.


unabonger


Feb 24, 2004, 7:21 AM
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Establishing the potential of the locally available mass-energy as a limiting factor is, by comparison, easily accomplished, and from here you have the fundamentals required to attempt to build the maximum, minimum, and ideal forward progress (delta collective enthalpy) curves.

Heady stuff.

Thoughts?

Jesus jeffers. I'm pretty sure you made a typo when trying to go to physicsgeeksgophilosophical.com. My take? The limiting reagents may be finite, but we've seen that with technological improvements, we've expanded our resources by orders of magnitude--because of competition.

Capitalism is the worst economic system, except for all the others.

The MagnitudeBonger


okinawatricam


Feb 25, 2004, 6:38 PM
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Capitalism is the worst economic system, except for all the others.

Very true. I am sure that one day, something new will come along, if we allow it that is.


okinawatricam


Mar 1, 2004, 3:29 PM
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The more I think about it, the more I realize that I agree with John. I am selfish, I climb for me and nobody else.

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