? asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 10 years ago

Was Ayn Rand a hypocrite for touting Reason over emotion in her Objectivist philosophy?

I recall reading this from TIME magazine:

>> Rand's success brought her thousands of fan letters. One of them, from Nathan Blumenthal, a 19-year-old freshman at UCLA, changed the 45-year-old novelist's life. The student became a member of the close-knit circle of her followers nicknamed the Collective, which included Greenspan. But before long, Blumenthal, by then named Nathaniel Branden, was her declared "intellectual heir." Writes Heller: "A month before her 50th birthday, she and Nathaniel received their partners' permission to meet for sex twice a week ... The affair provided excitement and deep fulfillment at a crucial, and essentially pleasureless, moment in her writing life." The book in question was Atlas Shrugged, her 1,000-page 1957 masterwork about the government's battle with captains of industry, led by John Galt, for control of the economy. The next year, Branden established an institute to promote Rand's philosophy of reason.

Alas, all of Rand's stern declarations about reason trumping emotion were of little value in 1968, when Branden revealed an affair with a young actress, whom he later married. Rand repudiated him, closed the institute and never spoke to her protégé of 19 years again. <<


I think it's pretty clear that she failed to understand how emotions guide what we interpret as 'reason', at any rate.

Your thoughts?

9 Answers

  • -
    Lv 6
    10 years ago
    Favourite answer

    I think it's virtually impossible for any human to live a life devoid of emotional values. She's a hypocrite, but only because her philosophy of pure logic is impossible to realistically emulate.

  • 10 years ago

    Emotion was what killed the Archduke Ferdinand in 1914. Emotion manipulated by Hitler and his gang led to World War II. Emotion guided two aircraft into the World Trade Centre, one into the Pentagon and one into the ground.

    Facts trump reason & emotion every time.

    I have no time for Ayn Rand. She was a dreadful scribbler, "Atlas Shrugged" is virtually unreadable and has no literary merit. Her "philosophy" is BS based largely on the "Social Darwinist" distortion of Charles Darwin used by late 19th century and early 20th century US capitalists to justify their actions, which included the use of the Pinkerton private army, judicial murders and in at least one case, a massacre of striking workers.

    Rand came from a family who fled Communism. Like most of the USA, she took an extreme position against it, thoroughly confusing it with any form of socialism. This confusion has been deliberately fostered by people on the US right, not excluding her and her followers and fellow trravellers.

    While all that is true, I don't think she was hypocritical, she just had no coherent ideas, they changed over the years. 1957 to 1968 is a fairly long time.

    Oh, by the way, that little rant about dogs smoking is BS too.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Minski, don't you think logic and reason is at least a good STARTING POINT for perceiving reality? You can prance around preaching whatever reality you think we're living in but the more you deny what's RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE the further you're going to get from the TRUTH.


    Why is this so hard for people to understand? And it's not like atheists and scientists are unable to come up with their own philosophies on life and perceptions of reality, but we use what we know as FACT as a basis for our theories. F SAKES.

  • HD
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    I absolutely agree. Have you seen the movie with Helen Mirren? I had read all of her books, and while I didn't swallow objectivism whole - I did think there were some valid points. Then I saw that movie (the name escapes me) and I started investigating her life. She was indeed a piece of work.

    Who is John Galt? There is no John Galt. Romantic fantasy on her part. All of her male characters were some aspect of what she found sexually and intellectually stimulating in a man - but still fantasy.

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  • 10 years ago

    You left out the parts about how they were already demonstrating their feelings about each other, like the car trip where they sat in the back seat together talking, he with his arm around her, while they laughed like happy children.

    But when she brought this up to Brandon, he was horrified. She reminded him that he agreed that true "Platonic" love was a form of denial, and so he reluctantly entered the sexual part of their relationship.

    She closed the Institute because he was the backbone of it. She didn't have the capacity or the desire to operate it, but was happy to put her name on it and occasionally address audiences.

  • Corey
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    "And of course, the atheist worships "LOGIC""

    Maybe the strawman version of atheists you've conjured up to fit your fantasy world. Valuing critical thinking instead of superstition doesn't turn people into emotional robots. And not all atheists value critical thinking.

    Yes, it was hippocritical of her to react so emotionally when she touted her so-called objectivist heroes in her fiction as if they had a tenable philosophy. Although hypocrite wouldn't be my first choice to describe her and her "philosophy". Pre-operational douche-bag is what I would say.

  • 10 years ago

    We both need logic and emotion. Too much of logic makes you unhuman. Too much emotion is just as dangerous. I guess we all need to find a way to balance the two. I like Ayn Rand, but she just went to extremes.

    Source(s): my logic and emotions LOL
  • 10 years ago

    Hehe I'm not sure what's unreasonable about making love to a sexy 19 year old when you're 50.

    Personal foibles aside, Ayn Rands appeal to reason is particularly germain to our current financial crisis, where rampant emotionalism in the fiscal policies of American Socialists have taken us to the edge of bankruptcy.

    I know why Rand hated Marxism. And if her hated for Government by emotional whim drove her too far into a Vulcan mentality - well I'm glad she found some hypocrisy.

    I consider her writings fundamental to a rational world view.

    And saddened she did not embrace Darwinism sufficiently to have children.

  • Naguru
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    I think "truth alone triumphs". Nothing else.

    Source(s): own
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