Sunday, December 12, 2010

You're Nobody Till Somebody Hates You.



A young Objectivist offers a profound philosophical appraisal of the ARCHNblog and its authors. Even better, he's on a boat!
(hat tip Behemoth)

31 comments:

Cavewight said...

sounds like ad hominem to me. Just another excuse to hide behind Rand´s arbitrary assertions. Fun video, by the way.

nizleib said...

The anger and bitterness of randroids never cease to amaze me. Isn't it supposed to be a philosophy of happiness, sort of?

I like how he recalls the definition of logic given to him by Rand, but swaps "identification" for "integration". Can happen to anyone I suppose, but it gets a tad humorous as it really adds to the overall feeling of that he's just reciting his personal bible.

Matt Warren said...

Awwwww. He's a fan. If not, he would blank you out. :)

Ken said...

nizleib, does Objectivism promise happiness? For that matter, have you ever met a happy Objectivist?

Xtra Laj said...

I've met some who say they are happy. Of course, I'm not sure that they are that much happier than I am or that I'm as unhappy as they claim that I should be given my "irrational" philosophy, but I definitely understand where nizleib is coming from, taking Objecivists at their word and all.

Anonymous said...

He's charmer isn't he? Bet he's a real ladies man?! Has he ever kissed a woman and no, his mother does not count.

No but seriously, I can't imagine anyone taking him seriously either. Plus, would he used such language if he came face to face with Greg? I doubt it. This guys an even bigger twerp than Vanilla Ice was in his heyday.

But the saddest thing was even his anger sounds so pre-conceived and well half-assed. Where was his passion when he was swearing?

- Steven Johnston
UK

caroljane said...

Maybe they were even angrier and more bitter before they found Rand, and by comparison they're happpier now.

But from the few I've known this theory doesn't hold much water. Objectivism just seemed to channel their anger and give it more targets. And of course "righteous anger" is a moral immperative in't it?

gregnyquist said...

"Plus, would he used such language if he came face to face with Greg? I doubt it."

No, of course he wouldn't. The anonymity of internet allows people like this individual to express anger without risking consequences. Many people feel frustration and anger because of unsatisfied needs, particularly unsatisfied status and sexual needs, which makes them feel helpless and impotent. Histrionically denouncing people over the internet makes them feel powerful without taking any great risks.

caroljane said...

Further to my last

Conversely, there must be average intellectually -curious young people, fairly contented with their lives, who read Rand and are lit with the fire of Reason and become converted. But I never met any of them either.

An in-depth study of Randists pre-and-post would be fascinating..There's lots of material out there.

Sam Troy said...

""Plus, would he used such language if he came face to face with Greg? I doubt it."

No, of course he wouldn't. The anonymity of internet allows people like this individual..."

I think that is right, it is wrong to abuse people, particularly on the grounds that you judge them to be inferior.

I am really sorry that this rant found its way to you Greg as it is unpleasant and stultifying. But the postings about him have been interesting and welcome.

Kind regards,

caroljane said...

Hi Sam Troy, you are bearing your fraternal tribulations heroically. You said that posts re yr brother have been interesting so Ill add one, though it's a little off-topic. I get the impression that you're an older brother (am I right)? I'm very interested in the studies on birth order as determining personality and psychology, directions in adult life etc.

I was an only child who always wanted a sibling (but at the same time darkly suspected that if I had one, they would be the favourite and not me). Anyway despite this, I still wish I had one, more as I get older and I'm already old!)Don't feel sorry for me, I have 41 first cousins (not a typo) many of whomI grew up with and are very like siblings to me now. But they didn't grow up in the same household with the same referents, and I am sure that no two adults can truly be closer than siblings--or further apart.

A few of my cousins are also nuts, but tha thankfully not on U-Tube.

Hang in there, life is long.

Anonymous said...

Some points...is this rant addressed more at his brother of Greg?

Surely he should be having this conversation with is brother?

Why does he have to record it and put it out on the web?

Why can't he just phone is brother and tell him what he thinks of the site?????

Why does he record it in the dark??????
Can't these cheap skate objectivists afford proper lighting? Or are they just afraid to be seen in daylight?
Why does it take so long? Surely any objectivist worth their salt would get it over with in one sentence "it is a blog of arbitary whim-worshipping nonesense populated by looters."

- Steven Johnston
UK

Sam Troy said...

"Some points...is this rant addressed more at his brother of Greg?"

It is probably aimed at the straw man, but nonetheless the violent swearing was at the host. I do not wish to further waste the time of you good people on this.

Steven Jonston
"Why does it take so long? Surely any objectivist worth their salt would get it over with in one sentence"

I agree, as would any disciplined academic, alas...


For Caroljane as you are interested, you guessed correctly, he is youngest of 3 guys and also about a head shorter. He certainly comes across very badly in his 100+ objectivist utube rants. 'Give a man a mask and he'll act himself' so perhaps the generally much better impression he gives in real life is the false one. Who knows.

Take care, and thanks for your interest,

Kind regards

Michael Prescott said...

"I do not wish to further waste the time of you good people on this."

No need for apologies, Sam. We ARCHN readers enjoy stuff like this!

Just look at the quote from R. Bramwell on the blog's title page.

I think a pithy quote from the YouTube video might look pretty good next to Bramwell's.

"He certainly comes across very badly in his 100+ objectivist utube rants."

100+? Maybe he has a little too much time on his hands.

"perhaps the generally much better impression he gives in real life is the false one."

Eh, I wouldn't want to judge. People are complicated. And young people (not just Objectivists) are often too sure of themselves. Usually they grow out of it.

KingBushwicktheToityToid said...

Objectivism is just the same old
warmed over cow patty merely wrapped up in a pretty box with a bow on top!!

Yawn!!What the hell's so fascinating about her anyway??
I saw part of 'The Fountainhead'once on AMC or TCM.

Made no sense!!Personally,I thought that Coop was better in High Noon or The Hanging Tree anyway!!

Of course,since the plot of The Fountainhead was about how Architect Howard Roarke destroying his building because he didn't like how it looked,maybe Timothy McVeigh and the 9/11 Hijackers were
followers of objectivism as well!!

"Never ever say'Never Ever'!!"-Magruber

Sam Troy said...

Hello,

I recently sent my brother Dannidandannikins a link to Michael Prescott's essay on William Hinkman and Ayn Rand, regarding the latter's flattering comments about him. I found the link on your blog.

I was a little bit shocked that Dan has complained about Prescott misquoting her. Reading the direct quotes of Rand I would have thought this would have been a difficult one to argue, is there any sense in which Dan has a point, given the wider knowledge of Rand that you guys have? I'd be very grateful for any comments.

Also, you guys expressed an interest in the sociological side of objectivism and the harm it does.

Purely as a result of sending criticisms of Rand to him, including, ARCHN, the Hinkman Prescott essay, the Huemer ethics criticisms, Rob Bass etc dannidandanikins refuses to speak to me, his brother, ever again.

Not that I wish to parade my personal life, but objectivism is a really makes slightly lost/unhappy young men go extremely bonkers and hypersensitive to politely worded specific questions!

Regards,

Sam

gregnyquist said...

"Not that I wish to parade my personal life, but objectivism is a really makes slightly lost/unhappy young men go extremely bonkers and hypersensitive to politely worded specific questions!"

That's too bad. Perhaps it would be best to leave well enough alone. Young men, whether Objectivists or not, often tend to take criticism rather personally. Sometimes the young are stubborn and will only be tutored by experience. Let the course of events wake him from his dogmatic slumbers, as eventually it must!

Anonymous said...

I was a little bit shocked that Dan has complained about Prescott misquoting her. Reading the direct quotes of Rand I would have thought this would have been a difficult one to argue, is there any sense in which Dan has a point, given the wider knowledge of Rand that you guys have? I'd be very grateful for any comments.

Sam, interpretation is always open to subjective argument and people believe things for all kinds of reasons, not necessarily because they are true. The defense most Objectivists use to the Hinkman issue is that Rand was only supporting Hinkman's selfishness, but of course, for regular people, Hinkman's selfishness is part and parcel of a serious psychopathic disorder and Rand's embrace of it might have been a sign that she wasn't too far from that. But don't expect this to be solved by hard argument.

I sympathize with your plight because I also have strained relationships with my brothers primarily because of Objectivism. I don't have any easy answers based on my situation, but I do have an idea of how I would approach things if I had more patience.

I personally would recommend that you don't confront him directly - it doesn't help that much. What you should do is continue to exemplify practical thinking and ensure that he doesn't lose contact with the real world so that his love for Objectivism doesn't become a mental illness.

If he is still doing the things that everyday people do (go to school, have jobs, talk to romantic partners), then all is well. When Objectivism becomes an excuse not to do those things that regular people do, that is when you might need to study Objectivism for some rationalizations to convince him otherwise. To me, people always want to feel important, have sex and wield power. Try to understand how Objectivism is feeding these aspects of his personality and you will understand how to deal with him better.

Remember, people have survived in this world while believing nuttier things. Better to have a strained relationship with a living brother than none whatsoever in my book. If my experience teaches me anything, it is that good/sound arguments have far less to do with what we believe than we think they do.

Laj

Daniel Barnes said...

Sam
>I was a little bit shocked that Dan has complained about Prescott misquoting her.

Hi Sam,

This is probably just a standard Objectivist evasive reflex firing. Objectivist use context as a bit of a cult buzzword - duh! as if it wasn't important to anyone else - and when confronted with this or that Rand quote that is problematic often try to make out that she has been taken out of "context". When pressed as to what exactly how, or why it mattered, in my experience they don't explain in any simple fashion, but instead expand this alleged "context" ever-wider. For example, if you criticise a quote from Galt's speech they claim it will suddenly have to be considered not just with the neighbouring text, but the context of the whole speech; or even *all* of Atlas Shrugged; or even the whole corpus of her philosophy, and any supposed unspoken implications thereof....this all counts, supposedly, as the "context" the quote is unfairly ripped from.

In other words it becomes a bit of a joke, like a child writing their address and adding "...The World, The Solar System, The Galaxy, The Universe..." It's simply a way of evading criticism - especially as Rand, being a confused and contradictory writer like most philosophers, can also be relied upon to have written something otherwise elsewhere in her corpus!

This is not to say wider context is not important, nor that critics always quote Rand fairly; however, Objectivists use "context" as a SOP obfuscation tactic regardless of the quality of the criticism.

Michael Prescott said...

The quotes are accurate. If you want to check this, go to Amazon.com's sales page for The Journals of Ayn Rand and use their Search inside feature to search for the term "Hickman."

(NB: Hickman, not Hinkman.)

Or do the same thing using Google Books.

I agree with Laj that it's best not to lose contact with your brother if you can find a way to get along.

Sam Troy said...

Hello,

Thanks for the advice and comments.

The advice to leave well alone is good, my wife said that too. But the guy is pursuing objectivism as a full time job/lifestyle,not working or studying, just doing hundreds of utube videos. He has even dumped girlfriends for being irrational (non objectivist).

That is the context of my intervention in forwarding links and asking questions in a very non confrontational way.

Thanks again, the blog is great and so are the links.

Kind regards,

Sam

Sam Troy said...

Hello,

Thanks for the advice and comments.

The advice to leave well alone is good, my wife said that too. But the guy is pursuing objectivism as a full time job/lifestyle,not working or studying, just doing hundreds of utube videos. He has even dumped girlfriends for being irrational (non objectivist).

That is the context of my intervention in forwarding links and asking questions in a very non confrontational way.

Thanks again, the blog is great and so are the links.

Kind regards,

Sam

Anonymous said...

Sam,

This is precisely the kind of thing that necessitates your calculated intervention. But you aren't going to win the battle by explicit argument - that's the main point I want you to keep in mind. What is more important is that you continue to help your brother stay in touch with the practical goals of life, because as you said, those things are impossible to maintain while taking Objectivism too seriously, the possible exception being maintaining a solitary technical/research job. Because he will continue to crave those things, as much as he tries to deny his craving for them. If he has decent social skills, he will do ok with women and will adapt over time. If he doesn't have them, well, that's when you make sure he keeps a good job and still cares for his appearance.


If he is social, encourage him to get more involved with Objectivism by joining the clubs and communities. It's counterintutive, but some people who actually like Objectivism hate Objectivists and that can temper how he feels about the philosophy. Moreover, if you agree, like I do, that satisfying the practical drives of life is important, joining those communities at least keeps him social and he might do well in the battle for Objectivist status. Maybe when he deals with women who call themselves Objectivists and fails to find them rational, then he might realize that philosophy isn't all there is to life.

Cheers,
Laj

Anonymous said...

Sam, I second Laj's suggestion about encouraging him to join or participate in an objectivist group or community. It's important that he do it in person as well, not just on the internet. Meeting objectivist and trying to have normal conversations with them was one of the first signs to me that not all was well with the philosophy. Good luck.

Kelly

Michael Prescott said...

Just to add one more thing to the Hickman issue: After reading Anne Heller's bio, I felt more sympathy for the young Ayn Rand, and I'm now inclined to see her angry and strange jottings about Hickman as signs of despair.

I think she was tremendously frustrated during her early years in America - isolated, working menial jobs, disappointed because her unrealistic expectations of immediate fame and fortune had not been met. Though she preserved her diaries from that period, she may not have intended to see them published, and obviously she was not writing for publication when she wrote about Hickman. She may have just been venting.

So while I still think her infatuation with Hickman exposes an undesirable element in her personality, I wouldn't judge her quite as harshly for it as I once did.

In that sense, I suppose you could say that the quotes are "out of context" - they don't take into account the full context of Ayn's life at the time. I doubt this is what Sam's brother means, though.

Laj wrote, "To me, people always want to feel important, have sex and wield power."

I think this is typically true of young people, but not necessarily true as we grow older. Many people do retain these rather primitive drives into their old age, but others gradually shed them. An interesting read in this regard is Barbara Sher's self-help book "It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now," which takes sort of an "evolutionary psychology" approach to the changes in our priorities and personality as we age.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

I'm still relatively young (early 30s) and I've even seen my personal will for certain kinds of dominance kinda lessen, so I'm willing to accept that our drives change with time. It's a rare nerd that didn't envy the jocks in school though. Ayn Rand is one step towards the common intellectual desire for an inversion of that hierarchy ("the pen is mightier than the sword"), but the drive still remains...

Laj

caroljane said...

"Misquoting Rand..." it is shocking, Sam, when the printed word hits the imprinted O-brain, and you observe it for the first time. You as a non-O are just up against the Mighty M's--Misunderstanding because you haven't read Rand, or are too stupid to understand after having read her (I think she once suggested a base IQ for being an Oist but I could well be wrong). This is irrelevant in Oist argument.

Misunderstanding (deliberate)- irrational

Misrepresentation (unintentional)-
irrational, maybe stupid

Misrepresentation (deliberate) -evil

The practical advice about getting him to meet flesh and blood Oists is excellent. There must be some in Britain, even just libertarians might do.

Does he ask you to call him Dannidandanikins now, as in new philosophy, new name? Serious question.

Take heart, blood really is thicker than ichor.

Sam Troy said...

Hello,

Caroljane
"Does he ask you to call him Dannidandanikins now, as in new philosophy, new name? Serious question."

Good question! Close, he didn't quite do that when he converted. He got a new email address which like most addresses is your name @xxx.com , but he put the word objectivist between first name and surname. That is halfway to what people like Cassius Clay did I suppose. From then on he really lived up to his name, objecting to everything (he even demanded an apology for me sending a link to this blog).

Rejecting one's family/fiends seems to fit into a similar cultist/adolescent vein also.

I would urge people in a similar situation to remember that objectivists are not people of sound mind. Perspective and critical thinking simply do not fit their thinking. It is very hard to fully understand that given their core importance. My fault in this affair has been to underestimate the extent of that, though I had to do something.

On reflection, its is surprising how fascinating objectivists/ism is to learn about. But I wonder if the emotional spell objectivism exerts over O-brainers is shared in some mutated form by 'anti'-objectivists like me and you guys. (Perhaps, deep down, it is because we know it is the truth!) As german objectivists say in south africa, 'Ayn rand for your thoughts?'. It certainly seems to have sparked a desire within me to witness its extinction, which is not entirely intellect driven.

Kind regards,

Sam

Michael Prescott said...

"I would urge people in a similar situation to remember that objectivists are not people of sound mind."

It depends on the person. I've known Objectivists who were of sound mind, and others who were a bit loopy. By no means are they all as far gone as your brother seems to be. In fact, I would say that most Objectivists I've known would regard your brother's YouTube rants as bizarre and unhelpful.

caroljane said...

Sam, Mike, this is very interesting. I became re-interested in Oism after decades because of these very things. Of course I am a little crazy myself, which helps, but I really would love to see a study about how people, usually men, usually young,
choose Ayn Rand rather than another guru to follow when they are hurting and searching for meaning in life. Is age a factor? The Oists I knew came to it in their 20s and were of sound mind, and as far as I know have remained so, though deeply eccentric of course. I think it damaged them, but they don't think so.

Sam, if it is not too personal, if your brother is not working or studying anything other than Objectivism (and I know those courses cost money), how is he supporting himself? Surely he isnt being a parasite on the State.And how old is he?

Very best wishes,
CJ

Xtra Laj said...

I would urge people in a similar situation to remember that objectivists are not people of sound mind. Perspective and critical thinking simply do not fit their thinking. It is very hard to fully understand that given their core importance. My fault in this affair has been to underestimate the extent of that, though I had to do something.

I don't agree with this characterization of Objectivists at all. The Objectivists I know are intelligent people with a serious blindspot when it comes to sympathizing with the struggles of everyday human beings, which is very far removed from how Rand described such struggles.

The critical thinking limitations Objectivists share are very common with human beings. Don't we all on occasion advance unsound arguments that we agree with without fully acknowledging their limitations? The key here is that you think that Objectivism is mostly about the arguments, but it is for people like your brother much more than that. My simplest analogy is with Christianity - how many Christians you know give up Christianity if they can't answer a logical/scientific question you have posed to them? It's not just about the logic/science.

On reflection, its is surprising how fascinating objectivists/ism is to learn about. But I wonder if the emotional spell objectivism exerts over O-brainers is shared in some mutated form by 'anti'-objectivists like me and you guys. (Perhaps, deep down, it is because we know it is the truth!) As german objectivists say in south africa, 'Ayn rand for your thoughts?'. It certainly seems to have sparked a desire within me to witness its extinction, which is not entirely intellect driven.


I think anyone interested in fundamental questions about human nature will have an interest in philosophy and psychology and which will deepen depending on time, ability, knowledge resources and motive. Many Objectivists, in my view, become enamored with the philosophy without a proper appreciation for the revolution that statistics bought to scientific empiricism. A common thread amongst Objectivists is to deny the relevance of correlations less that +/- 1.0 because these correlations imply imperfect understanding. The question of whether imperfect understanding is required or whether +/- 1.0 constitutes perfect understanding makes you realize that this is just another copout.