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February 18 2012

The thought of voluntarily embracing a system explicitly tied to the beliefs of one human being, who's dead, falls somewhere between the silly and the suicidal.

Science has heroes, but no gods. The great Names are not our superiors, or even our rivals, they are passed milestones on our road; and the most important milestone is the hero yet to come.

To be one more milestone in humanity's road is the best that can be said of anyone.
Eliezer Yudkowsky: Guardians of Ayn Rand - Less Wrong

January 14 2010

However, like socialism, which is a far simpler model than capitalism and which has proved fantastically evil in its treatment of those who disagreed with it, objectivism has turned out to be completely inept at dealing with disagreement. Constructing a social system that tends to those who agree with it is a piece of cake compared to constructing one that makes those who disagree with it want to obey its principles.
Erik Naggum on Atlas Shrugged - Kent Pitman - Open Salon
Reposted fromelpollodiablo elpollodiablo

November 04 2009

[Ayn] Rand insisted, over and over, that the details of her life had nothing to do with the tenets of her philosophy. She would cite, on this subject, the fictional architect Howard Roark, hero of her novel The Fountainhead: “Don’t ask me about my family, my childhood, my friends or my feelings. Ask me about the things I think.”
But the things she thought, it turns out, were very much dependent on her family, her childhood, her friends, and her feelings—or at least on her relative lack of all that. ...
Objectivism [looks like] a fantasy world created to cancel the nightmare of a terrifying childhood.
The One Argument Ayn Rand Couldn't Win -- New York Magazine
Reposted bycygenb0ck cygenb0ck

October 13 2009

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This was a great introduction to the dramatic work of Ayn Rand. The movie is pretty much propaganda for Objectivism, a philosophy that I have no small attraction to.

The degree to which the main character, architect Howard Roark, is relentlessly, uncompromisingly independent of anyone else's support or opinion is admirable. He doesn't care what anyone thinks and will not bend to anyone's will, but not out of any sense of rebellion. "What do you think of me?", an adversary asks. "I do not think of you".

Alongside Roark as the flawless hero is a supporting cast of almost-but-not-quite objectivists struggling towards self-improvement: Lacking courage, Dominique avoids or even destroys things that make her happy, hoping to thus deprive anyone from the ability to take away the happiness she as a consequence does not have. Millionaire newspaper owner Wynand holds equally strong convictions, but has sacrificed his personal values in the ruthless achievement of his ends.

There's a love story, of course – and I enjoyed the cold, rational way in which relationships are formed, postulating a love entirely without demands.

But while I found the themes of the movie fascinating, important and easy to identify with, there are also aspects I cannot agree with, like the attacks on any kind of altruism. I'd also argue that specifically as an architect Roark does have responsibilities beyond just his own artistic vision, namely to the tenants of his buildings (not that we see him violate these), and that his vigilante actions later on in the movie are certainly not justified.
Technically, some scenes come across as all too unrealistic or heavy-handed, and independent of the ideological opposition I found this review highlighting the more unrealistic parts a hilarious read.

Thanks @esad for the recommendation. Now I'm looking forward even more to the forthcoming adaptation of Atlas Shrugged.
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