Atlas Shrugged LO9811
Sun, 8 Sep 1996 08:24:17 +1200 (NZST)

Replying to LO9785 --

Hal Popplewell wrote:

>Of interest to this list is Rand's belief/philosophy that it is
>the individual whom creates all progress *not* teams or
>organizations. In a way, I agree - inventions are invented
>by individuals, ideas can only occur to individuals ...
>perhaps teams take these original ideas, refine and polish
>them and end up producing a "better" version of the original thought.

Personally I find Ayn Rand's books and philosophy terrifying, not
inspiring. I do not at all agree with Hal (who accurately summarises a
core aspect of Rand's view). In my view 'ideas' cannot occur to
individuals operating as single units. They can only occur to individuals
operating in a cultural and historical context. Or - at least - ideas with
any generative function or purpose can only occur that way.

When thinking about Rand we need to place her in the context of other,
opposed, literary traditions. From Plato's cave to Mary Shelley, to all
the mad scientist movies ever made, To HAL in 2001 (not Hal Popplewell!)
and - perhaps most significantly of all to the present debate -
Heidegger's essay 'The Question of Technology', we have a tradition which
asserts the opposite of Rand; that the unbounded, socially unsituated,
intellect is at best futile, and at worst destructively dangerous.

Phillip Capper
New Zealand


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