Atlas Shrugged LO9816

John Paul Fullerton (
Sat, 7 Sep 1996 19:10:21 +0000

Replying to LO9798 --

I said
>> Ayn Rand's philosophy does not seem to be esteemed by philosophers.

Gary said
> It may not be esteemed by philosophers, but for a book to be in demand
> and widely read since it's publication (1957?) says it is esteemed by
> many others. If you knew that 7 out of 10 self-made and successful
> people had read and valued Ayn Rand's philosophy and both the
> Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, maybe it wouldn't matter if the
> philosophers felt it worthy or not.

Gary, my comment may have been unduly sharp, and I'm sorry if my
comment seemed harsh. (If it seemed harsh, then it was. Please
forgive me.)

One thought that I had was that Ayn Rand's novel seems to conflict
with Your signature quote of helping others. Altruism could possibly
be thought of as helping others. That does not mean, "don't pay any
attention to what she says" :)

> [Host's Note: Can we connect this to Org Learning? What does Ayn
> Rand's writing tell us about Org Learning? And, if the philosophers
> don't feel it worthy, what do they say and what do we make of it?
> ...Rick]

Here's some related information about philosophers' view of Ayn
Rand's theory. Additional information is available at the WWW
address; I've quoted some of the philosophy-related information.

Review of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (Leonard Peikoff)
Author of Review: Nicholas Dykes (calls himself an objectivist for 30

> Among students, she quickly acquired a wide following; among their
> professors, she was usually either ignored or scornfully
> dismissed.

> In the first place, from the beginning of her career, Rand made no
> secret at all of her scorn for "modern philosophers" (and with few
> exceptions, she was not renowned for tact). Little wonder "modern
> philosophers" responded in kind.

> Having dealt with Rand's metaphysics and epistemology, Dr Peikoff
> proceeds to her most controversial contribution to thought: her
> egoistic ethics, with its adamant rejection of altruism. Rand
> maintained that, far from being bound in duty to others, each
> human life is an end in itself, not a means to any other end, and
> that therefore each human being has a right to live for his or her
> own sake, neither sacrificing themselves to others nor others to
> themselves.

> For Rand, the ultimate goal for humanity on this earth is each
> person's own life; the ultimate beneficiary of action, each
> person's own self.

> There are also many areas of concern to philosophy about which she
> had little or nothing to say; and even where she was most
> thorough, few philosophers, friendly or otherwise, would accept her
> ideas as fully worked up in a philosophical sense.

The last comment, is the one that I would have thought was most
significant from the "philosophical" point of view and related to
philosophers' disregard for Ayn Rand's theory. Another possible
problem is that her influential comments were offered in a way that
philosophers typically do not work, so that their statements do not
tend to gain as sudden influence.

How does Objectivism relate to Learning Organizations?

Dialogue does not seem likely in the Objectivist view of life. Why
would I want to talk with someone or listen to someone who obviously
disagrees with me? Why would I care if they learn or improve? Why
would I lessen my immediate impact (these are my assumptions, what
do You think?) so that their learning, improvement, success, and
strength would increase and bear fruit? The assumption could be, they
won't change sufficiently to benefit me, or, I don't really care
about people that don't benefit me right now. Yucko.

Aren't these practices inherent in building a learning organization
from the perspective of working with people (and being a person)
outside an established learning organization? I'm thinking of the
difference between saying on one hand, someday we will have our first
dialogue and, on the other hand, having the knowledge (with shared
learning) that we have had dialogues where others views have been
inquired into, we've learned from one another, and will continue to
learn from one another and together realize that that is the way we
move forward.

If I can be a person not knowing a process until the moment that I
learn it, how could I authorize not loving another who thought the
way I did just a moment ago?

Have a nice day
John Paul Fullerton


"John Paul Fullerton" <>

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