Sunday, August 06, 2006

For the New Intellectual by Ayn Rand

For the New Intellectual is Ayn Rand's is Non-fiction book.. AYN RAND challenged the prevalent philosophical doctrines of our time and the "atmosphere of guilt, of panic, of despair, of boredom, and of all-pervasive evasion" which they created. One of the most controversial figures on the intellectual scene, Ayn Rand was the proponent of a new moral philosophy -- an ethic of rational self-interest -- that stands in sharp opposition to the ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice.
In politics, we are told that America, the greatest, noblest, freest country on earth, is politically and morally inferior to Soviet Russia, the bloodiest dictatorship in history--and that our wealth should be given away to the savages of Asia and Africa, with apologies for the fact that we have produced it while they haven't.
We have all been physically beaten into place by the strong men of the world and morally beaten into place by the moralists of the world. Now we are walking around "with the whining injunctions that we must love everything" unafraid to judge, act, or be certain, "going through life in a state of unfocused stupor, merely repeating the words and the motions we learned from others."
Look at the moral atmosphere of today. Everything enjoyable, from cigarettes to sex to ambition to the profit motive, is considered depraved or sinful. Just prove that a thing makes men happy--and you've damned it. That's how far we've come. We've tied happiness to guilt. And we've got mankind by the throat. Throw your first-born into a sacrificial furnace--lie on a bed of nails--go into the desert to mortify the flesh--don't dance--don't go to the movies on Sunday--don't try to get rich--don't smoke--don't drink. . . . Kill the individual. Kill man's soul. The rest will follow automatically.
This gives us a new view of philosophers. According to Rand, Hume was an Atilla (he made us powerless by suggesting that there are no causes) and Kant was a Witch Doctor (made us believe that our understanding of the world is limited by preset categories). Then there was the "witch-doctor of Hegel, who proclaimed that matter does not exist at all." With Ayn Rand, we get a whole new reading of philosophy ("The great treason of the philosophers was that they never stepped out of the Middle Ages").

We believe that the soul and the body our separate. To Ayn Rand, a healthy human being is not a combination of body and soul, but an integrated intellectual producer and to think of man as composed of body and soul is to be ill.

Yes, I did enjoy reading this book. it is not empty philosophy. The Atilla/Witch-Doctor/Producer trichotomy as some substance to it in explaining the world's events and philosophical theories.

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