Friday, December 31, 2010

Waiting For Dagny

New York Magazine offers us extracts from the user profiles on the Objectivist dating site The Atlasphere. While this is a fun idea, it's also quite an interesting opportunity for a bit of laptop sociology. This article's a couple of years old, perhaps the ARCHNblog might pick up the baton and do a regular core sample ourselves.


stuart said...

just wow. Now i know even more why my great lovely oist boyfriend dumped me. He was entirely right to do so. all ended well for both of us.

Rey said...

As good as it may feel to mock lonely Objectivists, don't you find it rather sad that their ethos is just an elaborate rationalization for being socially crippled? (e.g., "I only kiss those who deserve..." "People see me as a socially inept loner because I tend to avoid superficial conversation but actually...")

Michael Prescott said...

I agree, Rey. This is the kind of thing that's funny at first glance, but upon reflection, sad.

The saving grace is that many of these folks are probably still young enough to outgrow Objectivism, or at least its more pernicious effects.

Anonymous said...

It reminded me of "The Social Network", which made me realize that Facebook is set up to reduce everyone to the kind of limited repertoire of canned responses that the socially-inept use to interact (as brilliantly depicted in the opening scene between Zuckerberg and Albright). The posts on the dating sight differed only in the choice of texts, not in their limited nature.

Wells said...

The weakness of this particular piece is I think we are only seeing profiles of men, (Two of the profiles could have been written by either gender, although I think they were also authored by men.)

I would love to mock, and I have serious doubts about the efficiency of the language the profiles use. But I can't see the ethics of the mockery.

I wonder what an Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature Dating site would sound like.

Behemoth said...

Objectivists sometimes wonder why there is often such vicious bashing of Rand and Objectivism out there (and generally attribute it to "second-handers" or "moochers" feeling threatened by rugged individualism, or liberals threatened by Rand's ideas). But I think a lot of it has to be due to people seeing the effects of Objectivism on loved ones who have fallen under its influence. How would you feel if your sibling, or child, or best friend was one of these poor people?

stuart said...

Good point Behemoth. Remember Sam Troy and his crazy brother?

In the laptop sociology vein, is it just my impression or do Oist men tend to be very late marriers (the hetero ones anyway)?There are so many examples of guys marrying for the first time at 40+. My ex included come to think of it.

gregnyquist said...

"I wonder what an Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature Dating site would sound like."

I suspect our readership is too scattered around the world, and also probably too disproportionately male, to make any such thing practical.

Xtra Laj said...

But I think a lot of it has to be due to people seeing the effects of Objectivism on loved ones who have fallen under its influence.

Exactly. People who do not know Objectivists or who do not study the groups underestimate how much of my behavior towards my brothers is informed by having interacted with the broader community.

I wonder what an Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature Dating site would sound like.

We know what it wouldn't sound like - it wouldn't sound like a bunch of jerks trying to be John Galt, and it would likely include some guys open to coaching from an expert with practical success if they needed it, not from an ARIan who claims to be an expert in Objectivism and dating.

Michael Prescott said...

"I wonder what an Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature Dating site would sound like."

Like this:

"Popperian empiricist genetically hardwired for monogamy advances the claim that true love is impossible. Can you falsify this theory? (Nonsmokers, non-cultists, and non-ontological-idealists only.)"

Happy New Year! :-)

stuart said...

"Synaestho-nihilist with two female names, here doing research for a shy friend. If you have red or white names, but don't much care one way or the other, and have given up on Objectivist dating sites in total disgust at their rigid rationality and stiff competition, she might like you.She's liked worse."

Xtra Laj said...

Caroljane, Mike,

Come on. As intellectual as we all are, I'm sure we all know that's not how to speak to women!


Behemoth said...

Random quote:

‎"For my part I should regard an unchanging system of philosophical doctrines as proof of intellectual stagnation. A prudent man imbued with scientific spirit will not claim that his present beliefs are wholly true, though he may console himself with the thought that his earlier beliefs were perhaps not wholly false." - Bertrand Russell in preface to "The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell" (1961)

Brendan H said...

Greg: "I suspect our readership is too scattered around the world, and also probably too disproportionately male, to make any such thing practical."

We could try online man-dating.

Curious Reader said...

The thing that I find most interesting about those profiles is that except for their somewhat over the top language they are not that dissimilar from any other dating site type profile. If you deconstruct the vast majority of those posts they amount to posts saying:

Single Guy looking for a woman meets the following 3 qualities

1) Shares my views on life, specfically being indepenant, self reliant, brilliant and non religious or spiritual
2) She must be willing to give up her current career/interests and adopt a traditional "womans" place in a household
3) She must be smoking hot, no fat chicks need apply(this is actually the first priority).

So basically they want someone/something that doesn't exist they want a person who is indepdant but willing to rely totally on/worship them as a breadwinner. However, for all that they demand that a person be Dagny made flesh whats even more important to them is that they be a total looker.

I guess we once again see that human nature is unavoidable even for objectivits.

Anonymous said...

In all seriousness, I'd love to see a sociological study (laptop or not) of the objectivist cult/subculture.

Jeff Walker's book was a good start, but it would add a lot to any critique of this movement to see its demographics analyzed and given more context.

This post raises the whole issue of the gender balance in objectivism, and I've often marvelled at how much the movement (particularly as I've seen on university campuses) -- despite having a woman as the exemplar -- draws men in overwhelming proportions, the way that computer science, dungeons & dragons, heavy metal and Star Trek does.

I've also found it odd how hostile Rand seems to be to the female gender, with her heroine getting (justifiably?!) raped, and her comments about a female president of the US being an "unspeakable" prospect ("I wouldn't vote for her!").

Yikes! Someone should untangle this.

- Chris

gregnyquist said...

"In all seriousness, I'd love to see a sociological study (laptop or not) of the objectivist cult/subculture."

I'd like to see such a study as well, but it would have to be more serious than mere a laptop study. It would have to involve serious empirical research involving extensive work in the field; otherwise, the results could not be considered empirically reliable.

gregnyquist said...

"In the laptop sociology vein, is it just my impression or do Oist men tend to be very late marriers (the hetero ones anyway)?"

I have no idea whether this is true; but it wouldn't surprise me if it were. Anyone who is still an orthodox Objectivist in his 40s has probably been so for around 20 years. That's twenty years of learning how to adjust his commitment to Objectivism on the one side with pratical exigencies of everyday life. Objectivism oversteps practical realities; yet Objectivists must live in a practical world. Since nature is usually stronger than ideology, most Objectivists will learn (through unconscious rationalization) to square Rand's ideals with the attainment of biological imperatives. Combine this with the fact that there will be a growing body of increasingly desperate 30-something women eager to make their contribution to over-population before it's too late, and there may be hope for even the Oist male.

stuart said...

In re Oist males, or "Waiting for Perfection", there is good news from our friend Mr. C. Cathcart.

He has "had it in mind...that the New Rules would come into effect shortly after the book hits the conjunction with a totally awesome Perfectionist thesis, of course."(Quoted from memory).

I for one am relieved to know that we will soon be able to discuss Rand not "lightly nor unadvisedly" but under his expert guidance.

stuart said...

ASK ARISTOTLE! Rational romantic advice for the Singular Single

Q. My boyfriend is an Objectivist (I'm not) and he said it would really turn him on if I could win a debate with him. How can I do that?

A. You can't. A non-Objectivist can never win a debate, or even an argument, with an Objectivist, as it is not of the essence of an Objectivist to lose arguments in concordance with the Law of Identity.

What happens, you might ask in logical extension, should an Objectivist happen to argue with another Objectivist?

Foolish girl. Your dumb question is an obvious denial of reality. No wonder your boyfriend is looking for an excuse to dump you.

An Objectivist would never argue with another Objectivist,as both begin from the same agreed premise and proceed logically to the correct conclusion.

Have you not even heard of the Laws of Pyrrhus?

(Guest Advisor was the Sybil of Cumae. Ari had more valuable things to do with his time this week)

Foolish girl. Your question is

Daniel Barnes said...

You may laugh caroljane but....

Kelly said...

"How should we act towards others with poor conceptual habits? How should one act towards others who consistently refuse to use some concepts properly? For example, those who call margarine "butter" despite the drastic difference in their chemical makeup. "

This question is all kinds of awesome, and I need to know the answer.

stuart said...

The question is indeed all kinds of awesome, as was the white oleo with which Aunt Marlene spread my bread, and whom I challenged conceptually about it not looking much like butter, shortly after Ayn Rand had published her masterpiece although I did not know it at the time.

With her typical second-handedness Aunt replied, "If you don't like it, give it to your Cousin Eugene. He'll eat it."

On such existential moments is our Sense of Life nourished.

Daniel Barnes said...

That was my awesomest favourite too...

Where would we be without Objectivism to answer these profound questions?

stuart said...

To Mr. S. Johnston, I know it's you. If you wish to be Anonymous it is not a good idea to include your full name in correspondence. Of course I could be wrong about this as about everything, as my betters continually tell me at another location where you have been spotted, and as a Synaesho-Nihilist I must agree with them in the mauve sense, not that it makes any difference anyway, but that is both here and there.

Butter is sizzling in the pan over there, and you have lit the fire to which my feet among others' feet are/is being held.

I hope you are proud of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Yes it's me and no...I don't feel proud of myself. I tried to get the prime movers interested in the latest series of threads here at ARCHN...but fell foul of the objectivist law that you must never sanction your enemy.
Oh and they told me that Ayn Rand is always right and even when she is wrong, just give it time and science will prove her right. Seriously I'm not making this up. Even Leninists would at least have the decency to blush when stating such drivel. But those objectivists aren't encumbered by such self-awareness.

- S. Johnston

Anonymous said...

Oh and they told me that Ayn Rand is always right and even when she is wrong, just give it time and science will prove her right.

Ugh. What is it about this unpleasant, hectoring woman that inspires such an unwavering perception of infallibility for these people.

stuart said...

I know, I know. I just continue to be amazed at the fortitude of those who continue to lug around the inert epistemological elements of Rand's philosophy. These artefacts are "neither beautiful nor useful" and endlessly relocating them isn't either, but good, hardworking human beings continue to undertake a task which is at once arduous and intricate.

I collect china pigs, myself. Recently expanded into sheep.

stuart said...

ASK ARISTOTLE: Rational Romantic Advice for the Singular Single

It's good to be back! I've been taking care of some empirical responsibilities in Pella in the past week, and you know what they say, "First prize, one week in Pella."This week's question is from a lady who has not yet been awarded her own epistemological first prize, Anonyma from Lower Onomatopoeia:

Honoured Aristotle, I am a wellborn maiden with a goodly dowry. My father has been seeking to arrange a suitable match for me for some time, well all my life really, but most of the men of our citystate were killed in the Minarchist Wars, and Father said he did not have the resources to bid for the survivors.

So he consulted the Oracle at Delphi, and after negotiations over the offering,in which Father said he came out best, Apollo told her to tell him this: "In a land to the west there is a valley where dwell one thousand men and only four women. There shall you find what you seek."

It was at she/he said. After many adventures and considerable slave turnover, we arrived in the Valley of Lower Onomatopoeia, population now 1,006.

What a dump.

Sure, there are men all over the place. But Father can't seem to find any more suitable ones than the dead Minarchists back home.This one is too poor, that one is too middle-class, not that we even have a middle class here that I can see, the other one is known to be possessed by Dionysus but not in the form of Bacchus. One suitor actually criticized my weaving (which is unsurpassable) and said he did not feel alchemy with fat women. Father rejected him saying harmless kinkiness was acceptable in a son-in-law, but a bad eye for cloth he could never tolerate.

There is not even any companionship from the four other women. One is too lowborn for me to associate with. Another thinks I am after her son, a total loser I would not touch with Charon's bargepole, and avoids me. One is nice enough but prettier than me, and the other is a jealous bitter old hag who doesn't even speak proper Greek.

I look at the sheep-dotted hills and wonder, "Is there an Upper Onamatopoeia out there, where the bestlooking men are not usually poor or slaves, where the women know that there is always only one superior women, and who that is, where I can find the husband I deserve or at the very least get away from the old man?

Honoured Aristotle, I know you know a lot of Macedonian officers, you are my last hope.

Lady Anonyma.

The Oracle of Delphi who is an honoured colleague, spoke true.Think not of soldiers who are mostly married anyway. Remember that the mighty Zeus himself "married" Leda in the form of a swan. The great Alexander was said to be sired by Apollo himself, in what form the Oracle only knows.

Take another look at those sheep.
Be mindful that the gods walk always among us.

stuart said...

So-called honourable Aristotle, thanks a lot. Father has found out i wrote to you, i don't know how, publishing won't be invented for 1900 years, and I called myself Anonyma anyway, but he has. He says I have disgraced him and he is going to get back his offering from the Oracle and sue you, serve you right. He's locked me in my room with the weaving again and i hate weaving i hate it i haate it ITS ALL YOUR FAULT you dirty old man i hope king philip of macedon fires your stupid ass y0u traitor too anyway.
Does this stola make me look fat?

stuart said...

PM to Lady Anonyma:

Despite the insulting language of your penultimate missive, I am answering your latest as I realize it cost you considerable effort to smuggle it out of Lower Onomatopoeia, and that you are under stress.

I cannot and will not approach any Macedonian officers on your behalf and I urge you again to abandon your hopes in that direction. I repeat, most of them are married, some of them to each other. They are also preparing to march East and never come back.

Your father has caused me considerable annoyance whilst making a spectacle of himself all over Athens.I hope he soon returns home safely.


stuart said...

Waiting for the Dagny movie. Anybody seen the trailer and/or have thoughts on how the movie will do?

Michael Prescott said...

I've seen a few snippets of film and some stills. The movie was made for only $5 million, a pittance for a project like this. My guess is that it will be awful; they've updated the story to take place in today's world, where the characters and speeches will probably seem incongruous. For this thing to have any chance of working, it needs a stylized approach and a "retro" environment, IMO. It also needs a big budget to give it an epic feel. This looks more like a low-budget cable TV show.

That said, the movie could break even. If enough Rand fans buy tickets, the film could recoup its low cost and justify Part 2 of the planned trilogy (or possibly tetralogy - the producers don't seem to be sure).

I would guess that the movie will have a relatively small release, at least to begin with. How it performs at the box office probably depends on whether or not it can break out to a wider release. Even if it doesn't go wide, DVD sales might be good enough to put it in the black.

It's also safe to predict that among non-Objectivists the movie will be a laughingstock. But you already knew that.

stuart said...

In light of the sluggish response to our Objectivist Dating site, I suggest we add a theme song to spice things up. To the tune of "Everybody's Somebody's Fool". covered by Mario Lanza:

"Everybody's somebody's Galt,
Everybody's somebody's Dagny..."