Who Is Ayn Rand?

Posted by Herb7734 2 months ago to History
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I became an Ayn Rand Devotee at the age of 14. I am presently 86.That's a very long time. During that time, I have read, discussed and argued about her, her literature, all of her writings, recorded lectures and the lectures of those she allowed to represent her. In all that time, I have concluded that she had the sharpest mind, and the greatest ability to inspire others with her writings and lectures. But, when it came to one-on-one personal relationships, she was as nutty as a health food candy bar.

You all know the story of Rand and Brandon. If you don't, there's plenty of literature about it or includes it. The tendency of her followers can be illustrated by the Brandon incident in which Brandon was condemned and Rand was given a pass even though they were both committing the same act (s). My point is that while I greatly admire A.R. I refuse to deify her in the way I see many Randoids do. She was a great woman and I hope that some day she'll get the recognition she deserves. But, like most humans, she was neither a saint nor a devil.

Let me insert a little of the Herbie philosophy at this point. As I look back upon my life, I realize that the most important things to me, personally, had less to do with exterior matters, politics, in particular, than interior things, music, art, and my hobby of quantum physics.But standing above all that in a major way, is love.OK, now e gets corny. But I remember love as the most powerful thing in my life, wife, sons, daughters, grandchildren. But not just the people, but the acts of love by them to me and me to them. I saw none of that in Rand. Perhaps someone can illuminate for me that which I missed and am not seeing. It is right and proper to admire A.R. I do. But as a person, she was just..... a person.


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  • Posted by 25n56il4 2 months ago
    I think a lot of people didn't like Ayn Rand because she felt a woman could have a uterus and a brain.
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    • Posted by 2 months ago
      I'm old. I think I don't understand your comment. Uterus is physical. The brain is the seat of consciousness. What's the connection? Are you speaking of the representation of the uterus as a symbol of female attitude while the brain competes in the arena of male thought? Carrying that forward it may represent that if a woman is truly a woman, she cannot do, intellectually what men do.
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  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 2 months ago
    Perhaps, peoples of great works, used that work as an escape from personal life, a way to forget and maybe in some ways...to make amends for those failures.

    We all have individual temptations and most temptations not physiological can be handled by the mind, those without access to a mind cannot; but my point is: When engaged with the mind most of the time...leaves the brain to it's own devices.

    Nice piece my Friend, well written and to the point.
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  • Posted by $ Abaco 2 months ago
    I love this Herb, very much! I'm a father of two kids and husband to a very beautiful woman who drives me crazy at times. I instantly saw that Ayn Rand didn't really seem to address children. But, she didn't have any. So...no worries as far as I'm concerned. If she had been a parent I believe she'd be a lot like me in that realm - hard-nosed protector.

    I really avoid politics in my everyday life. I find it entertaining and not much else. I don't avoid philosophy. Almost nobody, it seems, has a mind for philosophy. Many people know right from wrong...they just can't explain why.

    Not familiar with Brandon...
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    • Posted by 2 months ago
      You have piqued my interest on several levels. First of all, I have come to the conclusion that by their very nature, women exist to drive men crazy. You've gotta read up on more A.R. biography. Very entertaining. If you show love, you won't need to protect, it will come right along with the one another. Hard nosed protector only? Your adult children will grow to hate you. Unfortunately, I have learned to avoid politics too late in life. That attitude will serve you well as time goes by. Right from wrong comes to most persons via religion. While that helps, it is based on fantasy and eventually fails the rational person.Try a few of her polemics. "The Virtue Of Selfishness" is a good starter.
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      • Posted by $ Abaco 1 month, 4 weeks ago
        I have a copy of "The Virtue..." on my shelf and it's near the top of my current list.

        I'm hard-nosed toward anybody accept my kids, for the most part. I spoke with my son last night about helping him transition from being a kid to a man. He's neurologically disabled, otherwise he wouldn't need my help. He's struggling with it. At times...I might seem tough to him. But, he either makes the transition or spends a life of substantial challenge.

        Yes. I think women are supposed to drive us crazy. Finally figured that out. Man...our brains are typically very different. Can't live without em, though...
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    • Posted by 1 week, 6 days ago
      I refer to my wife as the BW (beautiful wife). Ah, dear Abaco it's a wife's duty to drive husbands crazy. It's because their approach to problem solving is usually 180 degrees different from the distaff. The conclusions are often the same and arrived at before the male because their process is faster.They are like a crime novel. Nothing is very clear until the end.
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  • Posted by Idiocracy42 2 months ago
    I try (really hard, sometimes) to not get caught up in the "who". It's unfortunate to me to find someone who is great at what they do (actor, writer, philosopher, scientist - whatever), who is less than stellar as a person.

    Because of that I avoided watching the Passion of Ayn Rand (even though I really like Helen Mirren and assume she was well cast) as well as anything written by others about her. I just don't want to know about her personally.

    As to love, she said "to love is to value". It was not central (IMO) to her fiction, but she did write about it. I think for her everything fell into the same philosophy - a hierarchy of values. She discusses it in technical terms, for want of a better word, but does not discount it at all.

    My take on her writings is that the word, the idea of the word, is often used falsely, as a selfless thing, instead of the perhaps the most selfish of all.

    I'm sure others in here in the Gulch will be much more articulate on this!
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    • Posted by 2 months ago
      A really long time ago, a college professor who became a good friend, told me that all heroes had feet of clay. Never had a prediction been more true.But, that shouldn't keep you from learning about them. Often, knowing an admired person, as a person, can be helpful in understanding the good stuff that pours forth from the brain.As to love, it is not what creates the world as does the concepts developed by the consciousness. It is what makes you more than human. "It is a strange and wondrous thing to be a man." I'm sorry, but I do not understand your sentence beginning "My take on her writings..."
      at all. Please help me clear out the fuzzyness with your intellectual high power hose.
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    • Posted by 1 week, 6 days ago
      A professor who taught my English class in college once voiced the old bromide that idols often had feet of clay.As I passed through life I found this to be mostly true. As a result, I have two things which I do when encountering people I admire greatly. I don't look at their feet. I elucidate their shortcomings and relegate them to "I don't care" or I discard them if their foibles are most egrigious.
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    • Posted by $ Abaco 1 month, 4 weeks ago
      I remember her saying something like love is an emotion shared between people who share the same values. Thought provoking. There really is some truth in that. Marriages fall apart when one spouse's values change from what they were at the beginning - based on what I've observed all over in my life.
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  • Posted by MikePusatera 1 month, 4 weeks ago
    Rand's personal relationships in the novels are very odd. There is a lot of truth her teaching about how a person's choice in a partner tell you the value of that person.
    "But, in fact, a person's sexual choice is the result and sum of their fundamental convictions." I think both Dagney and Dominique take this to a poor extreme. The way Dagney can so easily move on from one lover to another when she finds a person of a higher integrity. The way Dominique uses sex and relationships to punish herself. My problem with how these characters act in the books has nothing to do with a sense of right and wrong or any type social norms. I just do not think either of these examples could ever happen in real life. At least after 54 years I have never encountered. How Dagney can give up the attachments in a positive relationship so quickly is just not going to happen in real life. How Dominique can have such a low sense of self esteem and yet be aware of this I just do not think is possible in real life. is this what you mean about her personal relationships?
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    • Posted by 1 week, 6 days ago
      Mike, you are most astute. You articulated better than I could as to her love relationships in her novels. You might read her two lesser known novels especially We The Living. A.R.'s husband is a character study in a passive man dominated by a strong woman. But there still is something to learn from her attitudes toward love such as an inkling of the nature of love by a rational person which goes something like this: "I'll give you that which I value most, myself." Pretty powerful, I think.
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      • Posted by MikePusatera 1 week, 6 days ago
        Herb. thank you. I have read We the Living and Anthem. Excellent works. I love what Rand has to say about relationships much more than how she used relationships in the Atlas and Fountainhead. You quote is a great one. Here is another that always comes back to me.
        “A man's sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions.... He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself, the woman whose surrender permits him to experience a sense of self-esteem.”
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      • Posted by $ Dobrien 1 week, 6 days ago
        That is a very powerful and valuable gift. My BW gave me that value 42 years ago as she turned 21.
        I am still trying to give her equal value in return.
        Peace to you my Brother.
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  • Posted by minesayn 2 months ago
    I read a book by Scott McConnell, which was called 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand in 2011 (published in 2010). One hundred people were interviewed.about their relationship/feelings of Ayn Rand starting with her sister Nora in the 1920s and through the decades of her life up until she died in 1981.

    These people had met or knew her through various ways, and in unique ways. These people seemed candid in their feelings about/toward her. Some loved her; some tolerated her; some hated her, but many of these people had surprising things to say about her. She was not as intolerant as many people accuse her of being. In my reading of this book, I got another picture of the woman who wrote such phenomenal novels. These recollections only increased my regard for her.

    I also have a copy of the Letters of Ayn Rand in which she responds to some of the people who wrote to her through the years. While I have not read it all, this book certainly echoes her philosophy.
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    • Posted by 2 months ago
      I met her once on a trip to NYC when I found she was doing a lecture. It was at some building I don't recall. I did get an example of her humor. When I introduced myself to her, she chuckled and said, "One more Jew and we'll have a minion (prayer circle)." As it happened, I knew quite a few of those in her immediate circle which she jokingly called "The Collective."
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    • Posted by 1 week, 6 days ago
      When assessing a woman of her caliber, it is not surprising to find her to be multi-faceted. As a matter - -of fact, myriad faceted. Not to mention that she could, if need be, she put on an act depending on whether she would want to impress or alienate the person she encountered.
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