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thoughts and feels and thoughts and feels
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Now Read This. *Really*.

Scapegoating, Libertarians, and a really great quote about the pagan State.

With reference to Ayn Rand, who really should have just written Anthem and called it quits.

Reviewing the archive (linked at the bottom of the page), I begin to wonder whether I have more in common with the blessedquietness people (other than their sod-all sense of humour) than I might like to admit.

second thought: I have an awful lot of reading to do if I ever want to start on the 'render unto Caesar' diatribe in earnest.


> Ayn Rand, who really should have just written Anthem
> and called it quits


It's to the point where I am almost embarassed to admit that I liked Anthem. :P

But I did. I thought it was well-crafted, for its purpose, and an enjoyable read aside from that. The difficulty, of course, is that Rand fails utterly to consider what happens when capitalism and that sort of authoritarian dystopia (I don't even know how to describe it) start to overlap. For that matter, I rather doubt that she even considered it possible.

I suppose a revolution could do that to one, if one let it.

It really all depends on when you discover her readings, I think

(grrr, wrote a comment to this post once already and LJ ate it. hmmph)

My junior year in high school The Fountainhead was part of our English curriculum. I then read Atlas Shrugged and Anthem and entered a scholarship essay contest about Ayn Rand's writings. I found her writings to be a wonderful antidote to and bulkhead against the enormous pressure at that time to Just Stop Being So Weird and Conform Already. Her quote about not being able to say "I love you" until you can say the "I" was one of my senior yearbook quotes, and the phrase I coined to accompany it there "There is always a choice to be made, there is always a price to be paid." was inspired by reading what she had written.

I saw that she overcorrected in many ways for the Communism her family fled from when she was young... but I was grateful for the validation her works gave me during years when I felt very alone before I got to high school and my 'family' in the gaming club.

True, Anthem _is_ my favorite of her works.

But even amidst the places she went overboard, she had some very valid points about watching out for those who would play 'mind games' and twist the concept of altruism for their own gain. To beware of memes that would elevate suffering with no simultaneous positive purpose as noble.

As I sit here I wonder if maybe one of Ayn's biggest obstacles in life was being a strong 'T', especially a female strong 'T' when our culture expects so many females to lean towards the 'F' side. There's something in her desparate frustration with those who "break and slide around the rules" and with a society that would see such actions as "just the way the world works" that resonates with my own frequent frustration with the 'F'-ier sides of the world. It's easy to find myself in those moments sharing her conclusion that much of the world must be morally or mentally defective to do such things, to accept such things.

Like a physicist trying to model the universe with only the prime numbers, it is no wonder that so many of her conclusions turn out to be so sadly flawed.

Re: It really all depends on when you discover her readings, I think

Jungian function actually occurred to me when I read one of her interviews (with Playboy, ironically.) I think it's not only that she's so very T as that she is T untempered - with no evident desire to be tempered, even.

Myself, the T is strongly attracted to Objectivism, to the idea that reason is reality, that there is no higher virtue than being rational. But it's like the positivists all over again. The phenomenal, the things we can qualify and quantify and talk about, are what is important; the ineffable is useless and insignificant. And I stand out there in the ocean of noumena with Wittgenstein screaming "How can you possibly think this is insignificant??!"

Maybe I just can't believe - not morally, not experientially, not realistically - that it's really as easy as reason would let us believe.

(Wasn't done)

She does, I realize, make many good points - they're just in such strained contexts that it's almost heartbreaking.

And I do appreciate the emphasis on the individual (though at this point in my life philosophy, it seems I hardly need any encouragement to refuse conformity and never waver in my efforts to buck the system...). Organizationally, she calls for chaos. I don't know if that's what she's really after, from a practical standpoint. But - see prior parenthetical statement.

Re: (Wasn't done)

It's the old dilemma that there is no 'perfect social order' or 'perfect government'. (As I realized some point late in high school while comparing the ideals of communism and the ideals of democracy)

_Any_ society's method of being governed will be imperfect as long as the society is made up of imperfect, selfish people who will by their very nature make mistakes and/or seek out ways around the rules to better themselves at the expense of others.

Yet, in a society of _perfect_ people, the idea of a government is irrelevant because the people will see what is what is necessary to maintain the society in good working order and then execute those actions automatically.

(There's a very INTP (and probably there's a few other types that are particularly prone to this as well) trap wherein it seems as if something must either be done perfectly or not at all)

Ayn's problem was her assumption that there was some small number N out there of 'perfect' people being diluted within and held back by a larger society of imperfect people. (Based, perhaps, on the idea that a society can only work at all, if imperfectly, if there are _some_ 'perfect' people out there shoring it up at regular intervals)

She was wrong, but it is a tempting fallacy to fall into at times.

Re: (Wasn't done)

People don't have to be perfect; they just have to be willing. And even that not all the time. I wonder, did Rand feel she was perpetually being called upon to be that perfect person?

The idea that a society constituted of perfect people will maintain itself without "government" as such assumes that people will interact with each other at all, were they perfectly free. Having only read Anthem, I'm not sure what Rand would say to that - it seems at the end where Prometheus (that is what he called himself, right?) is going to go back to the city to collect his bretheren, when he is conceiving a new society, one of its primary tenets would be that nobody would depend on each other, because there is no perfectly equal relationship (because there is no way to measure it mathematically, which makes the entire question moot, both practically and in Objective terms). So I suppose it is society inasmuch as that it encompasses interpersonal interactions, but it's not really society as we know it. Which, perhaps, was her point, or at least another aspect of it.

I think that's what I meant.

Re: (Wasn't done again)

Yesterday this put me in mind of something we discussed in Major Readings, and I just realized that it does fit: People who see their way of life coming to an end tend to view the world in apocalyptic terms. We talked about the idea in relation to Henry James, the aristocratic Englishman who was experiencing the demise of the aristocracy's true sway. But it applies to Rand as well, whose comfortable childhood was brought to an abrupt halt.

Re: It really all depends on when you discover her readings, I think

minor self-correction now that I've had some sleep

before I got to high school and my 'family' in the gaming club.

of course I meant before I got to _college_ and my family in the gaming club.

High School for me -> at least 3 of the circles of Hell

College -> sudden entrance into the Elysian Fields :)


I supposed that was what you meant. I think everyone must experience some sort of educational Tartarus - the only reason mine waited until the first half of college was because I refused to acknowledge the existence of high school. ;D

Just wondering - what kind of gaming was it?...

Re: :)

Roleplaying. We played D&D, Gurps, Shadowrun, Champions.... whatever anyone felt like running.

The club still holds a Con once a semester. My plan for my next trip east for a visit is that it will encompass the next Con in March 2005.

Re: :)


That's so cool.

One of these days I shall branch out into other systems. In the meantime, rhwainwright recently (a few months ago) introduced me and a few other n00bs to Savage Worlds [if you're not familiar with SW, don't ask me, as I have no basis for meaningful comparison...]
One of them was the second incarnation of Stanslavski ("I'm going to attack *that* zombie because my character once had a friend named Amy who was six years old and..." The rest of us are going "ROLL THE DICE ALREADY!" Meanwhile, two rather useful NPC's got killed.) But the rest of us are fun. ;) And addicted.

I tried to buy my first set of dice Thursday evening, but Valhalla's Gate (ie, The Store) was closed. Woe is me. They had some really hot ones - they're blue with little splotches of other colors through them (they looked sort of like oil slicks.) I'd have bought them the first time I saw them, but I spent a really long time deliberating about whether it was socially (or personally) acceptable to buy "girly" dice. Mr. Wainwright asked "Why do you think they MAKE girly dice?" And I concluded that the ones in question were adequately non-girly anyway.

Am trying to organize vacationing plans so that can play with RHW's friends, who actually seem to know what they're doing and are not forever having to ask "Shooting, that's a d8, right?"

My name is Costanze Lilith Lucy and I have a bit of a problem...
and I enjoy every minute of it...