Ayn Rand

A New Morality

“One must attend to one’s own needs without infringing on those of others.”

Return to the minds


It is not in the nature of man–nor of any living entity–to start out by giving up, by spitting in one’s own face and damning existence; that requires a process of corruption whose rapidity differs from man to man. Some give up at the first touch of pressure; some sell out; some run down by imperceptible degrees and lose their fire, never knowing when or how they lost it. Then all of these vanish in the vast swamp of their elders who tell them persistently that maturity consists of abandoning one’s mind; security, of abandoning one’s values; practicality, of losing self-esteem. Yet a few hold on and move on, knowing that that fire is not to be betrayed, learning how to give it shape, purpose and reality. But whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men seek a noble vision of man’s nature and of life’s potential. …

Ayn Rand, New York, May 1968

“There is a slavering beast devouring the minds of man”

“To me–it’s being left, unarmed, in a sealed cell with a drooling beast of prey or a maniac who’s had some disease that’s eaten his brain out. You’d have nothing then but your voice–your voice and your thought. You’d scream to that creature why it should not touch you, you’d have the most eloquent words, the unanswerable words, you’d become the vessel of the absolute truth. And you’d see living eyes watching you and you’d know that the thing can’t hear you, that it can’t be reached, not reached, not in any way, yet it’s breathing and moving there before you with a purpose of its own. That’s horror. Well, that’s what’s hanging over the world, prowling somewhere through mankind, that same thing, something closed, mindless, utterly wanton, but something with an aim and a cunning of its own. I don’t think I’m a coward, but I’m afraid of it. And that’s all I know–only that it exists. I don’t know its purpose, I don’t know its nature.” – The Fountainhead   This is the pull that got me.  I’ve seen that beast myself.  I call it the abyss.  No matter what you say to them, the words fall into the abyss.  The story itself is about a man who is foolish enough to depend on truth in the justice system and rely on his own integrity to prevail.  Underlining the story line is the theme of second-handers, those who get their self esteem second handed.  I call them zombies.  Even though she got raving reviews, she went to bed crying because no one understood.  Of course, they were zombies incapable of understanding but pretending to.  I disagree with Ayn Rand’s new morality.  What I find interesting is that she was not an idiot.  And I always find interesting things with non idiots. She was a transcendent .047% of the population.  …….. “An irrational society is a society of moral cowards—of men paralyzed by the loss of moral standards, principles and goals. But since men have to act, so long as they live, such a society is ready to be taken over by anyone willing to set its direction. The initiative can come from only two types of men: either from the man who is willing to assume the responsibility of asserting rational values—or from the thug who is not troubled by questions of responsibility.”– Ayn Rand She would be pleased to know that a number of Ayn Rand societies have sprung up fostering study of the philosophy put forth in her books.  The book is cogent, as is atlas shrugged.  Notice the cameo of Ayn Rand in the courtroom.

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2 Responses to “Ayn Rand”

  1. walt,

    re: -the slavering beast i have known (which has a curious resemblance to ayn rand), …

    western ‘morality’ is the ‘rational stuff’ that ‘just wars’ are made of (one’s own wars are always, by definition, ‘just wars’). ‘morality’ is the hallmark of a ‘purposive’ society and the purposive citizen. it is the belief that behaviour originates in the guts of men, and that it is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘consequential’ or ‘irrelevant’, … as determined by common/popular belief. western ‘morality’ (‘morality’ in terms of ‘rational purpose’) is much over-rated but it has its staunch supporters such as ayn rand.

    “An irrational society is a society of moral cowards—of men paralyzed by the loss of moral standards, principles and goals. But since men have to act, so long as they live, such a society is ready to be taken over by anyone willing to set its direction. The initiative can come from only two types of men: either from the man who is willing to assume the responsibility of asserting rational values—or from the thug who is not troubled by questions of responsibility.”- Ayn Rand

    evidently, Ayn Rand equates ‘morality’ with ‘purposive behaviour’ (Aristotle’s legacy), while strains of ‘morality’ other than the purposeful variety fail to impress Rand;

    “[The Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using…. What was it they were fighting for, if they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their “right” to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or maybe a few caves above it. Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent.” — Ayn Rand, “Q and A session following her Address To The Graduating Class Of The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 6, 1974″

    the ‘native americans’ were/are a poetic people with a poetic language. ‘poetic morality’ differs radically from western ‘make-it-happen’ and ‘make it good’ morality. poetic morality would have us give ourselves over, individually and collectively, to our calling to take our place in the natural scheme of things, … rather to live as slaves in a grid of moral/purposeful expectations in what we call ‘western civilization’, bringing the element of ‘civilization’ to the ‘savages’, as ayn rand says in her above comment.

    so when the native american and ayn rand look into each other’s eyes, both see the ‘slavering beast’, and ayn rand reserves for herself the right to take the life of the slavering beast that seems devoid of ‘rational purpose’.

    but for the poetic ‘indigenous peoples’ of north america, where does the slavering beast, as they see it, live? for them, it lives in the abyssal dessicated consciousness of the drooling materialist predator or maniac, a rational moralist whose had some disease that has eaten the poetry out of his or her soul. i have seen the slavering beast living there.

    rainer maria rilke knows where it lives; it lives in the city, in the ‘civilized’ structure of things that you and we become, to the point that we are no longer moved by the poetry and harmonies of the world we are included in, … i.e. to the point that the countryside, the naturally connected life we left and that continues to wait for our return, becomes the threat;

    All of You Undisturbed Cities/ R. M. Rilke

    All of you undisturbed cities,
    Haven’t you ever longed for the enemy?
    I’d like to see you besieged by him
    for ten endless and ground-shaking years.
    Until you were desperate and mad with suffering;
    finally in hunger you would feel his weight.
    He lies outside the walls like a countryside.
    And he knows very well how to endure
    longer than the ones he comes to visit.
    climb up on your roofs and look out:
    his camp is there, and his morale doesn’t falter,
    and his numbers do not decrease; he will not grow weaker,
    and he sends no one into the city to threaten
    or promise, and no one to negotiate.
    He is the one who breaks down the walls,
    and when he works, he works in silence.
    when rilke meets ayn rand, it is doubly scary, … when they turn and look towards each other, they are both looking into the eyes of the slavering beast.

    as rilke notes in his letter to a friend;

    “And even if I had all the powers in the world, I would have to give all my powers to the important thing in me: it has a right to that. Isn’t that so?”

    yes!, yes!, yes! vive rmr and the amerindians! ‘this important thing’ is the cultivating of harmonies in the world as elicited/inspired by one’s unique situational inclusion in the unfolding universe, not self-interested material purpose driven from one’s internal ego.

    living in the midst of a multitude of ayn rands whose self-interest driven rationalist-moralist purpose creates a living hell moderated only by corruption in the form of what we call a ‘justice system’, that elevates and rewards rational purpose with one hand while it strikes down and suffocates poetic harmony (true justice) with the other, is the amerindian/poet’s definition of ‘hell’, the ‘hell’ of moral determinism and its travelling ‘social darwinism’ roadshow (aka ‘western civilization’ aka ‘colonialism’).

    ted

  2. ellocogringo Says:

    Hi Mr Ted
    this is from ayn rand, speaking of western civilization
    It is not in the nature of man–nor of any living entity–to start out by giving up, by spitting in one’s own face and damning existence; that requires a process of corruption whose rapidity differs from man to man. Some give up at the first touch of pressure; some sell out; some run down by imperceptible degrees and lose their fire, never knowing when or how they lost it. Then all of these vanish in the vast swamp of their elders who tell them persistently that maturity consists of abandoning one’s mind; security, of abandoning one’s values; practicality, of losing self-esteem. Yet a few hold on and move on, knowing that that fire is not to be betrayed, learning how to give it shape, purpose and reality. But whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men seek a noble vision of man’s nature and of life’s potential. …

    Ayn Rand, New York, May 1968
    walt

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