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Thread: What is it with Ayn Rand?

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    Question What is it with Ayn Rand?

    I once opened a book titled "Philosophy: Who needs it?" by Ayn Rand. It's a collection of essays and speeches by her. In it, she straightly offended Emanuel Kant saying that he singularly destroyed the world development with his philosophy.

    I wondered how can an author so blatantly criticize another person or a fellow philosopher. The thought that disturbed me so much about it was that Ayn Rand may had been a very influential author/philosopher but isn't it very rude on her part to knock another philosopher down just because she didn't like his teachings???

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    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krishna_lit View Post
    The thought that disturbed me so much about it was that Ayn Rand may had been a very influential author/philosopher
    She's not, at all. She's influential amongst a very small group of militant right-wing conservatives who think themselves God's gift to mankind. She's not even beneath the contempt of real philosophers. Her criticizing Kant is akin to Bill O'Reilly criticizing Einstein.
    Last edited by MorpheusSandman; 08-18-2013 at 05:04 AM.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

    "To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." --Neil Gaiman; The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

    "I'm on my way, from misery to happiness today. Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" --The Proclaimers

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    I highly doubt that only militant right-wing conservatives are influenced by Ayn Rand's work. I would potentially call any work that is philosophical in nature, influential, when so many people have read the work. I would go as far as to guess that in this day and age, far more people have read Ayn Rand's work than Kant's.

    I'm greatly looking forward to reading the book, as well as the Fountainhead before it, so I can see what all the hub-bub is about.
    Last edited by Vota; 09-19-2013 at 10:32 PM. Reason: adding additional thoughts

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    There is so much rubbish that attains popularity that it would take all one's time to see what all the different hub-bub's are about. If I'd used hub-bubs to determine my reading, recently, I'd be reading novels about teenage vampires, wizard schoolboys and numerous shades of gray. And why would anyone interested in literature want to do that? And why would you want to read Ayn Rand?

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    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Well, I've never read "Many Shades” or “Twilight”, but “Harry Potter wasn’t so bad, at least for the first two or three books. It went downhill after that, because the War with Voldemort was a bore compared to everyday life at Hogwarts.
    I read “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead” as a teenager, and I liked them, too (although not nearly as much as I liked other novels). The self-centered egomania of the characters appeals to the very young, I think. I never bought into the philosophy, but the passions, the rapes, the romances and the melodrama was appealing. It isn’t great literature – or even as good as (to name another book I liked as a teenager) something like “The Godfather”, but I can see why teenagers like the novels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    I'd be reading novels about teenage vampires, wizard schoolboys and numerous shades of gray. And why would anyone interested in literature want to do that? And why would you want to read Ayn Rand?
    What you think is the definition so called "Literature" according to you?? I mean, what's wrong with reading anything that one is interested in? The sole point of literature is to live the kind of lives that we love in the form of Stories, and being a citizen of such a world, what makes you say:
    And why would anyone interested in literature want to do that?
    One doesn't have the right to say so, at least not in this world of books. Be it Vampires stories or Wizarding worlds, readers live what they love. Every book that is written becomes a part of literature because it is liked and loved by somebody, but not that it is a part of literature so people have to like it and love it.

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krishna_lit View Post
    I once opened a book titled "Philosophy: Who needs it?" by Ayn Rand. It's a collection of essays and speeches by her. In it, she straightly offended Emanuel Kant saying that he singularly destroyed the world development with his philosophy.

    I wondered how can an author so blatantly criticize another person or a fellow philosopher. The thought that disturbed me so much about it was that Ayn Rand may had been a very influential author/philosopher but isn't it very rude on her part to knock another philosopher down just because she didn't like his teachings???
    one is allowed their opinions in the field of literature. that is part of extensive reading. take on others and say how they feel about it.
    freedom of speech/thoughts.
    reading takes all sorts not just agreement. it is about the ability to sieve through ideas and decide for themselves without being accused of rudeness or impropriety.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vota View Post
    I highly doubt that only militant right-wing conservatives are influenced by Ayn Rand's work.
    I guess you could say she influences real novelists and real philosophers on how not to write and think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vota View Post
    would go as far as to guess that in this day and age, far more people have read Ayn Rand's work than Kant's.
    Probably so, but, as mal implied, many more have read Harry Potter than Rand, so what's popularity got to do with it? Kant is still influencing philosophers and even popular philosophy. Even those who don't agree with him have to react to him. The good thing about Rand is that everyone who doesn't agree with her can safely ignore her; her influence is only penetrating to people that already agree with her. As the writer John Rogers once said: "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    There is so much rubbish that attains popularity that it would take all one's time to see what all the different hub-bub's are about. If I'd used hub-bubs to determine my reading, recently, I'd be reading novels about teenage vampires, wizard schoolboys and numerous shades of gray. And why would anyone interested in literature want to do that? And why would you want to read Ayn Rand?
    Having had Twilight forced upon me by a "caring" family member, and having been subjected to a few readings of Gray, I must say that Harry Potter is on a whole other level of better compared to those works. Potter is actually quite good, well-written, imaginative fantasy; probably as good as anything since Lord of the Rings.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

    "To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." --Neil Gaiman; The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

    "I'm on my way, from misery to happiness today. Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" --The Proclaimers

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    I guess you could say she influences real novelists and real philosophers on how not to write and think
    interesting point but should we really be influenced by others rather then ourselves?
    one does not want to be others but to themselves true.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cacian View Post
    interesting point but should we really be influenced by others rather then ourselves?
    one does not want to be others but to themselves true.
    The mistake is in thinking that "ourselves" haven't already been formed (partly) by others. Being social animals we can't escape the influence of others. The same holds true of literature an any art; originality really comes from having a wealth of influences rather than (claiming to have) no influences. No artist can create anything without some influence. After all, how would a novelist even know what a novel was without having read other novels? Throughout history, the most original artists tend to be those that were also the most experienced with other artists within their medium. Look at the Modernists, how Eliot wrote The Waste Land, one of the most original, groundbreaking poems ever, almost wholly out of imitations/quotations/translations from previous authors.

    So, really, I think the best way to form "yourself" as an artist is to incorporate as many influences as possible, rather than not being influenced at all.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

    "To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." --Neil Gaiman; The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

    "I'm on my way, from misery to happiness today. Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" --The Proclaimers

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    Quote Originally Posted by cacian View Post
    should we really be influenced by others rather then ourselves?
    There is no question of whether should we be influenced by others or ourselves, because we ARE influenced ONLY by outside occurances. Not a single thing or thought in our life is our own. But whether should we act upon what others try to make us is our own choice but YES we are only a product of what comes to us.
    one does not want to be others but to themselves true.
    I don't totally agree to this, because everybody have their set of inspirations and when somebody inspires us that is only because we, at least in the atomic form of our unconscious desire in our subconscious minds, we do want to be like that somebody. That is the only first reason why our attitude or thought process is moved towards that person. But yes there are also people who take these inspirations and wants and tries to be more than that somebody. That is good too. But many people want to be like somebody. May be an aspiring dancer would want to be like Michael Jackson, or a aspiring musician might dream to be like John Williams or a cricketer would love to see himself as good as Sachin Tendulkar or a new film director would love to become the next Spielberg...

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    QUOTE=krishna_lit;1239424]There is no question of whether should we be influenced by others or ourselves, because we ARE influenced ONLY by outside occurances. Not a single thing or thought in our life is our own. But whether should we act upon what others try to make us is our own choice but YES we are only a product of what comes to us.
    I do not agree. I think awareness stands a fair point here. why be someone else when you can be you?
    we may influenced by others and the environment around us but one must learn to aware and tare.
    one has to learn to sieve what one wishes to retain and reject what one does not as part of our psychological development.
    To be a product is someone is perpetuating sameness and eventually leads to boredom. one can only hack so much of the same thing before it becomes worthless. novelty wears out and we as part of it become worn out. it is a grim prospect to think that we are to be the product of someone else's work and not our own imagination. flair is all about finding that balance between what one sees and what one wishes to make of it.

    I don't totally agree to this, because everybody have their set of inspirations and when somebody inspires us that is only because we, at least in the atomic form of our unconscious desire in our subconscious minds, we do want to be like that somebody. That is the only first reason why our attitude or thought process is moved towards that person. But yes there are also people who take these inspirations and wants and tries to be more than that somebody. That is good too. But many people want to be like somebody. May be an aspiring dancer would want to be like Michael Jackson, or a aspiring musician might dream to be like John Williams or a cricketer would love to see himself as good as Sachin Tendulkar or a new film director would love to become the next Spielberg...
    again following someone else step is one pilgrimage too many. why replicate Spielberg when you can showcase your volition and talent instead?
    inspiration is admiration but it stops there. one must reinvent and find something new because of the inspiration but not for it.
    are we become too lazy to think for ourselves? shadowing someone else says a lot about our intellectual development or lack of it.
    Last edited by cacian; 09-25-2013 at 06:37 AM.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
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    it fly

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    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    The mistake is in thinking that "ourselves" haven't already been formed (partly) by others. Being social animals we can't escape the influence of others. The same holds true of literature an any art; originality really comes from having a wealth of influences rather than (claiming to have) no influences. No artist can create anything without some influence. After all, how would a novelist even know what a novel was without having read other novels? Throughout history, the most original artists tend to be those that were also the most experienced with other artists within their medium. Look at the Modernists, how Eliot wrote The Waste Land, one of the most original, groundbreaking poems ever, almost wholly out of imitations/quotations/translations from previous authors.

    So, really, I think the best way to form "yourself" as an artist is to incorporate as many influences as possible, rather than not being influenced at all.
    I agree that an influence is unavoidable as well important but one must find a balance between what one is and what he or she thinks he is.
    we are easily influenced and led but we are easily fled too. there is a fine balance between the too and one must strive to find it I think.
    one can only be true to themselves and happiness of mind is crucial to that. success is being able to suggest new ideas by learning past ones
    only then originality is led.
    one wishes to lead but not follow.
    Last edited by cacian; 09-25-2013 at 06:45 AM.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    Having had Twilight forced upon me by a "caring" family member, and having been subjected to a few readings of Gray, I must say that Harry Potter is on a whole other level of better compared to those works. Potter is actually quite good, well-written, imaginative fantasy; probably as good as anything since Lord of the Rings.
    OK Morpheus you, Ecurb & Christopher Hitchens* have nudged me into, perhaps, reading the first one if it appears on the library new shelf. Still not expecting to like it much, but one needs to keep in touch with the Zeitgeist, however trivial it is becoming. Christopher provides a damning review of one of the later ones in his superb last collection of essays "Arguably", along the lines of Ecurb's criticism, so I'll probably stop at one!

    * http://www.amazon.com/Arguably-Essay.../dp/1455502782.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    So, really, I think the best way to form "yourself" as an artist is to incorporate as many influences as possible, rather than not being influenced at all.
    Doesn't everyone get formed that way anyway? How can you escape being influenced by anything you encounter? Does a great artist form themselves using the kind of rational process you are implying, or is it a more organic, unconscious process?

    Whether "incorporation" is a conscious or unconscious process, I think we should be careful of what we use as grist for our mills.

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