Friday, August 14, 2015

Ayn Rand's objectivism, "selfishness": ordinary people, and resilience in relationships

Here’s a little piece from Alternet and Salon last December, “One Nation Under Galt: How Ayn Rand’s toxic philosophy permanently transformed America”, by Bruce E. Levine, link here .
He describes Rand as toxic to young minds. A book review of the obscure “Ideal” by Ayn Rand in the New York Times by Michiko Kakutani, link here , covers similar territory, concerning her apparent contempt for the unfortunate and undistinguished.  So, is "selfishness" a "virtue"? 

I can process the “coercion” of others on me, and I can process my own resentment of it, my own passions for some things aesthetic, and at the same time aloofness to a lot of mundane intimacies others experience.
It seems others want “me” to demonstrate the inclination and ability to meet the “real needs of other people” and find “meaning in doing so”, before I make myself known as a separate individual with my own values.  This is certainly connected to resiliency in a relationship: the ability to form and especially keep an intimate relationship with another adult who is or becomes much less than perfect, much below an “angel”.  This used to be connected to procreation, and centered around nuclear family or tribe, and linked to expectations of vicarious immortality, however vulgar daily fecundity can sound.  A lot of people seemed concerned about what made me tick, about what I wanted my freedom "for", and imagined that my example could undermine their own capacity to have and raise families. (Really!)  For me, reproduction and resilient family intimacy was a personal afterthought, and my attitude toward this changed only as I grow older and ponder my own mortality.  No wonder a lot of this remains a matter of faith for many people.  If I had been born in an earlier time, I would have had little choice in what to believe.  But if anything, modern physics gives me a new idea about the need for connectedness, as consciousness must outlive ordinary experience.

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