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Atlas Shrugged - Week 3: Ch 5&6

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SamRussell

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She didn’t have kids huh?
So according to Ayn Rand who you are now speaking for since you’ve apparently read her so extensively and you’re sharing with us since we are specifically asking you to tell us all about her even though we haven’t read the book, choosing to keep your child and raise it to move out and be a productive member of society is ultimately a selfish choice?
Yes, assuming that’s what you want, and you don’t have a child because your parents / society / etc expect you to
 

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lludwig

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Are we accounting for the possibility of having multiple motives? Most human action is driven by multiple motives. Everything doesn't need to be simply "self-seeking" or "other-seeking." Everything doesn't need to be "either/or" and reduced to a single motive.
Yes, that's IMHO the flaw in her writing but again it's fiction - it's an ideal.

Is my example even possible in the Randian universe? Or is the possibility of me innovating because I care about something other than myself not possible in her world?
Most definitely yes.

You are bettering yourself by making the world a better place - a trader principle. It's a win-win proposition. In my eyes, she's 100% right on this. The only way to get wealthy is to add value to others where there was none.
 
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This very subject has been discussed quite a bit online. So I don't think I'm speaking out of line on it.
As others have no doubt mentioned, the book is quite large and MANY of us have never read it before. If you add in these threads plus a ten hour workday plus children - I do not have any inclination whatsoever to educate myself on the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

I ADORE books but often I find out information about the author that is.. upsetting.. to say the least but I try very very hard to not judge the work of art based on the creator’s lifestyle or belief. If it’s a classic work, like this book has the potential to be, then it should stand the test of time without hours of studying Ayn Rand.

Just FYI.. a dear friend of mine and I once got soooooo engrossed with learning about a book BEFORE reading it completely that we spent weeks and weeks following rabbit trails to modern color theory and prime ministers and archaeology and fables and the power of oration..

We wore ourselves out. And it did not enhance the book for us.
 

lludwig

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I’m quite familiar with passionate arguments based entirely on one word being improperly defined. It’s imperative to online discussion to agree to terms and to define things well.

If this happens again will you please explain the differences between the Webster’s dictionary definition and Ayn Rand’s definition faster? It will save us all time.
Yea but I don't think it happens in the book that often. This is really her non-fiction (which came after Atlas) which discusses these terms and puts what's discussed in the book in more concrete terms.
 
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Yes, assuming that’s what you want, and you don’t have a child because your parents / society / etc expect you to
So you’re saying that I’m choosing to keep feeding a child and clothing a child and sacrificing my time and energy because it gives me selfish joy to do so? All so that they will move away and be productive?

I just want to make sure I’m hearing the disagreement correctly.
 

lludwig

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As others have no doubt mentioned, the book is quite large and MANY of us have never read it before. If you add in these threads plus a ten hour workday plus children - I do not have any inclination whatsoever to educate myself on the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

I ADORE books but often I find out information about the author that is.. upsetting.. to say the least but I try very very hard to not judge the work of art based on the creator’s lifestyle or belief. If it’s a classic work, like this book has the potential to be, then it should stand the test of time without hours of studying Ayn Rand.

Just FYI.. a dear friend of mine and I once got soooooo engrossed with learning about a book BEFORE reading it completely that we spent weeks and weeks following rabbit trails to modern color theory and prime ministers and archaeology and fables and the power of oration..

We wore ourselves out. And it did not enhance the book for us.
LOL, you wanted to go down this rabbit hole. :)

You took the red pill and there's no turning back!
 
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Yea but I don't think it happens in the book that often. This is really her non-fiction (which came after Atlas) which discusses these terms and puts what's discussed in the book in more concrete terms.
So, technically, you’re not letting THIS book speak for itself at all. You’re using another of her books to flesh out her ideas... ideas which this book does not make clear?

IMHO this is similar to explaining to a person every detail of how a car works while they’re still learning how to get in the car.
 
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LOL, you wanted to go down this rabbit hole. :)

You took the red pill and there's no turning back!
I took the red pill? And by that you mean I desired a book discussion on ONE book of hers and asked repeatedly with humor and kindness to not spoil it with outside influences or opinions or explanations.

Because I want us to explore Atlas Shrugged. Not be instructed about Ayn Rand.

It’s very possible I could enjoy the writing in this book without ever having to know her wonky a$$ definition of altruism. Js.
 

lludwig

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I took the red pill? And by that you mean I desired a book discussion on ONE book of hers and asked repeatedly with humor and kindness to not spoil it with outside influences or opinions or explanations.

Because I want us to explore Atlas Shrugged. Not be instructed about Ayn Rand.

It’s very possible I could enjoy the writing in this book without ever having to know her wonky a$$ definition of altruism. Js.
Ugh.

First of all, I meant this as a joke. So lighten up.

Hmm...you wanted a discussion on the book. What are we doing this for then?? To waste time?

I haven't given away anything about the story plot. I have given additional info about the reasoning of what characters are doing in the book and how it relates to things Ayn Rand has discussed outside of the book.

Which ARE relevant.

So I don't see why you are bent out of shape about it.

If you do, then perhaps I'm wasting my time commenting on this thread.
 
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Ugh.

First of all, I meant this as a joke. So lighten up.

Hmm...you wanted a discussion on the book. What are we doing this for then?? To waste time?

I haven't given away anything about the story plot. I have given additional info about the reasoning of what characters are doing in the book and how it relates to things Ayn Rand has discussed outside of the book.

Which ARE relevant.

So I don't see why you are bent out of shape about it.

If you do, then perhaps I'm wasting my time commenting on this thread.
You’re putting a tone in to my posts that isn’t there. Truly. It takes a whole lot to stress me out. This is fun for me.

I sincerely don’t think you understand what your comments are accomplishing. You think you’re adding to the convo but in reality you’re correcting a bunch of ppl about terms .. people who haven’t even dared to start digging in to the book.

Also, you haven’t shared YOUR opinions. By holding up a sign that says “This is what Ayn Rand meant” what you’re doing is positioning yourself as an authority. It’s robbing others of trusting themselves, of asking questions, of weighing the information they’re gathering from this book. Furthermore, every word about her philosophy might be utterly superfluous. If every time somebody who hasn’t read the book starts opening up just the slightest bit or wondering about anything outloud.. if when they do that you or csalvato swoop in with what Ayn Rand REALLY meant.. it cuts them off from considering things on their own.

I want csalvato here. I enjoy his brilliance. I want you here. I think you’re trying to be helpful .. but I’d love to hear how these chapters shaped you or what you struggled with.

I don’t want you to be the messenger for her.. she wrote a book. Let it stand on its own merit. Let us think for ourselves.
 

csalvato

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The law of reciprocity.
It is the law of reciprocity and mentioned in the book Influence.
You're mixing together reciprocity + altruism. These two things aren't the same.

Reciprocity is the tendency to want to reciprocate. In Influence, the tool is used to generate unbalanced reciprocity.

That is, I am your waiter and give you a mint after dinner, and you want to give me a bigger, better tip worth way more than a 5¢ mint. Or I watch your kids one night, so you feel you "owe me one" and watch my dog for a whole week while I'm in Mexico.

If Tony Robbins gave you $10, then asked you for $10,000; that's the reciprocity that Cialdini was writing about.

In your example, donating on purchase, is not altruism or reciprocity. If we wanted to stick with what's talked about in Influence, then that's actually consistency – you want to purchase with someone/something consistent with your beliefs.

Going back to the case of Elon, if you care about the environment, you want to be consistent with that and support a company who is working towards caring for the environment.

In the case of Tony Robbins, if you care about feeding people in need, you'll be more inclined to buy because you get the added value of feeling like you're being consistent in your belief with something you care about.

To illustrate how it's not altruistic, Cards Against Humanity did the same thing - but instead of donating, they used that money to buy bullshit gifts for people in Congress. This sold not because it was altruistic or reciprocal; but because it was consistent with the beliefs of the purchaser:

Now Cards Against Humanity is getting into the game with the windfall profits from our Holiday Bullshit campaign, where 250,000 people paid us $15 each to send them ten mystery gifts during the month of December.
That's not altruistic – it's simply knowing your market and adding value to their purchase by aligning it with their values.
 

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lludwig

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I sincerely don’t think you understand what your comments are accomplishing. You think you’re adding to the convo but in reality you’re correcting a bunch of ppl about terms .. people who haven’t even dared to start digging in to the book.
I'm mentioning these terms because they are key concepts of the book.

They should be discussed.

Rightly or wrongly. I'm correcting what's mentioned because of how they are defined by Ayn Rand, not me. Sure you can interpret it a different way but there are parts she has specifically clarified her intent on those passages.

It doesn't mean I agree with all of her terms either.

The book is more than just a work of fiction it is ultimately making philosophical statements. Sometimes the same statement described in multiple plot lines.
 

csalvato

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if when they do that you or csalvato swoop in with what Ayn Rand REALLY meant
Uhm...there's seriously no reason for any attacks here.

We are all thinking, musing, discussing how the book has shaped us...then you tell us we're all doing it wrong.

It seems like you want this book and discussion to fit into a box that it doesn't want to get into.

Why not be grateful that you kicked off a life-altering discussion for hundreds of people here, even if it's not the form you want?

Either that, or you can continue on your current course, which won't change how people are discussing the book, and alienate a bunch of people?
 

lludwig

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This article does a good job defining her definition of Altruism and where it comes from - The philosopher Comte's definition she's rejecting.

Which by modern definition has been convoluted.

 
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I'm mentioning these terms because they are key concepts of the book.

They should be discussed.

Rightly or wrongly. I'm correcting what's mentioned because of how they are defined by Ayn Rand, not me. Sure you can interpret it a different way but there are parts she has specifically clarified her intent on those passages.

It doesn't mean I agree with all of her terms either.

The book is more than just a work of fiction it is ultimately making philosophical statements. Sometimes the same statement described in multiple plot lines.
I know it doesn’t seem like it.... because I prefer to be a very enthusiastic happy silly person... . but there are thousands of hours and decades behind the methodology I’m using for this book discussion.

Narration is a key element.

The terms your brought up to help us understand have barely been broached. You’re seeing the book as a whole and pointing to themes BUT the people who have never read it aren’t getting a chance to find those themes or discuss them on their own.

If enough people keep reading ON THE SCHEDULE all of these things might be brought up.. if ppl care about the book.

But if they don’t care? You can’t makr them care by giving more info or explaining stuff.. and by explaining the themes BEFORE giving us a chance to notice them, explain what they mean to us, or discuss them among ourselves .. you are positioning yourself as a teacher.

We are adults.

I knew going in to this that most likely NONE of you have learned the art or value of narration so I’m persistently protecting it.. so far in almost every thread.

Narration is when you read ANYTHING and then you say out loud or type what you heard.

It’s not being lectured to or being talked down to the second you wonder.

A book discussion of this sort protects the wonder because NO ONE is the teacher or the instructor.

Uhm...there's seriously no reason for any attacks here.

We are all thinking, musing, discussing how the book has shaped us...then you tell us we're all doing it wrong.

It seems like you want this book and discussion to fit into a box that it doesn't want to get into.

Why not be grateful that you kicked off a life-altering discussion for hundreds of people here, even if it's not the form you want?

Either that, or you can continue on your current course, which won't change how people are discussing the book, and alienate a bunch of people?
If I really am alienating ppl.. I would hope they would tell me.

Instead the only ppl who seem to be getting ... shall we say feisty.. are ppl who say “I’ve already read the book I know what Ayn Rand intended! Let me tell you guys all I know while NEVER sharing my own personal opinions because I can’t! I just can’t share anything right now! It’s too soon!!”

You guys can wait. All I’m asking for is some time.

Every week we have more ppl who are wondering out loud. It’s awesome.

Please let them.

If we get the themes wrong for half the book.. fine! I’m certain we’re intelligent enough to learn from our mistakes.. IF you let us make them.

What I’m doing is NOT letting you make judgments about the book for us, NOT letting you tell us what Ayn Rand “meant”, NOT letting you take us down a trail where we look at the book as a whole.. because we’re not there yet.

Nobody in the book discussion that hasn’t read the whole book can argue with you guys. It seems like you have all the answers.

But there’s no test.

If you want the book to have an impact on us... LET IT.

If the book is strong enough.. it will.
 

lludwig

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You're mixing together reciprocity + altruism. These two things aren't the same.

Reciprocity is the tendency to want to reciprocate. In Influence, the tool is used to generate unbalanced reciprocity.
Your statement I think is mostly right.

Though if you are altruistic you are giving up something for others. You expect others to reciprocate because it is expected.

I think they are related but yes not the same. It boils down to how we expect others to behave.
 

lludwig

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and by explaining the themes BEFORE giving us a chance to notice them, explain what they mean to us, or discuss them among ourselves .. you are positioning yourself as a teacher.
? I'm not sure I understand this part. These are topics very much discussed in this chapter and the previous ones. It's not like I'm getting ahead of the book.

I'm not positioning myself as anything other than someone who has read this book and other books of hers. That's all. I'm also here to learn and discuss the topics as well.

There have been a few concepts I missed that I caught reading and also discussed in these threads.

If anything I'm trying to get myself more clear on what she meant on certain passages myself.

Yes, obviously I'm at an advantage since I've already read this book and others of hers.

There's a lot to be digested, it's a long book!
 

csalvato

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If I really am alienating ppl.. I would hope they would tell me.
We are telling you. Right now, actually.

Instead the only ppl who seem to be getting ... shall we say feisty.. are ppl who say “I’ve already read the book I know what Ayn Rand intended! Let me tell you guys all I know while NEVER sharing my own personal opinions because I can’t! I just can’t share anything right now! It’s too soon!!”
You're the only one getting fiesty, as far as I can tell.

We discuss how the book has shaped us, you disagree with that, then we are told to defend ourselves, and we either:

1. Refuse to out of respect for spoilers (and are ostracized by you for not disclosing what we think)
2. Indulge you (and get ostracized by you for "spoiling" the book or trying to teach you the whole book)

Most posts are even consistently limiting themselves to the chapters you want.

You guys can wait. All I’m asking for is some time.

Every week we have more ppl who are wondering out loud. It’s awesome.

Please let them.

If we get the themes wrong for half the book.. fine! I’m certain we’re intelligent enough to learn from our mistakes.. IF you let us make them.

What I’m doing is NOT letting you make judgments about the book for us, NOT letting you tell us what Ayn Rand “meant”, NOT letting you take us down a trail where we look at the book as a whole.. because we’re not there yet.

Nobody in the book discussion that hasn’t read the whole book can argue with you guys. It seems like you have all the answers.

But there’s no test.

If you want the book to have an impact on us... LET IT.

If the book is strong enough.. it will.
By this logic, no one could ever teach an english literature class, unless the teacher themself had never read the book, because anyone with prior knowledge wouldn't be able to guide the discussion.

No one is telling you how to judge the book, or whether or not you should accept Ayn Rand's definitions of anything, or even mandating that you read any posts from anyone who is discussing the book in the way you dislike.

People are discussing the book in their own way. Just let them so we can all grow. Isn't that the point?

If you don't like it, just ignore us. There's even an ignore button to make this easy for you. I personally wouldn't mind if you ignored my posts; I'm still getting a ton out of this discussion by hearing and engaging with everyone's perspective.
 

csalvato

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Though if you are altruistic you are giving up something for others. You expect others to reciprocate because it is expected.
I think this is where the fault lies.

Altruism is the act of giving something up for others without expecting anything back in return. If you are expecting reciprocity, you are not being altruistic with that act (by any definition, I think ;))
 
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? I'm not sure I understand this part. These are topics very much discussed in this chapter and the previous ones. It's not like I'm getting ahead of the book.

I'm not positioning myself as anything other than someone who has read this book and other books of hers. That's all. I'm also here to learn and discuss the topics as well.

There have been a few concepts I missed that I caught reading and also discussed in these threads.

If anything I'm trying to get myself more clear on what she meant on certain passages myself.

Yes, obviously I'm at an advantage since I've already read this book and others of hers.

There's a lot to be digested, it's a long book!
Ok so when you post questions or make statements you’re wondering about these themes and would appreciate us to help flesh them out?

Because maybe I’ve been misreading your tone.

It’s just, I haven’t gotten ANY pm’s from ppl who are upset about my way of doing the book discussion but I HAVE gotten pm’s from ppl who decided to stop reading because they didn’t feel comfortable sharing their insights or opinions for FEAR OF BEING TOLD WHAT TO THINK.

My way = Letting everyone share what they read, what it meant to them, and what parts they’re wondering about.

THEN fleshing out those ideas as the convo takes us.

Your way (as far as I can tell) = Posting questions geared to get us discussing the themes in the book you have already recognized, wrestled with, researched, and decided upon.

THEN when someone stated something contrary to your decisions you “correct” them.

~~~~
Where, if anywhere, have you shared a problem you had with this chapter? Where have you stated a concern of yours? Where have you wondered about something aloud?

I’m sorry if I missed it.. you don’t seem full of curiosity or wonder or enthusiasm for sharing YOUR doubts.. you seem focused on getting us talking about what you feel is important in the book.
 

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Be honest it was the having kids is selfish... sent you over the edge... :)
Oh goodness.. I wish so much you could hear my voice.. because no.. it wasn’t. I’ve had that argument before. A lot actually. It’s a great argument.

I was asking clarifying questions to hopefully draw you out and hear YOUR thoughts. Which I did. Successfully. At least in a small way. You have children and your argument.. taken to its logical end included the children growing up to be 30 while still living with their parents. It’s a flawed argument.
 

lludwig

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I think this is where the fault lies.

Altruism is the act of giving something up for others without expecting anything back in return. If you are expecting reciprocity, you are not being altruistic with that act (by any definition, I think ;))
I initially thought yes, but I donno though.

If you listen to religion it talks about how you will be paid back... eventually. Perhaps in the afterlife even. You are sacrificing now but will be paid later. Maybe.
 
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By this logic, no one could ever teach an english literature class, unless the teacher themself had never read the book, because anyone with prior knowledge wouldn't be able to guide the discussion.
THIS. Is gold here. But you don’t know it. The entire educational system in America is built on this.. and it sucks.

Teachers tell ppl what to think, how to think, what to feel, how to feel.
 

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I think this is where the fault lies.

Altruism is the act of giving something up for others without expecting anything back in return. If you are expecting reciprocity, you are not being altruistic with that act (by any definition, I think ;))
And the theory is one can never be truly altruistic. I saw this article doing research for a speech I did Thursday. It occurs to me the same chemicals that get you addicted to porn or alcohol or make it so you learn to enjoy getting things done could be activated by gratitude or charity thereby making one's altruistic tendencies a sort of addiction.
 

lludwig

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It’s a flawed argument.
How so? Sacrificing for your kids has a limit before it is destructive to you. That's not to say you shouldn't love your children, you most definitely should. But there is a limit to use the child at home and not working before you kick their rear out of your house.
 
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If you don't like it, just ignore us. There's even an ignore button to make this easy for you. I personally wouldn't mind if you ignored my posts; I'm still getting a ton out of this discussion by hearing and engaging with everyone's perspective.
Why in the world would I ignore you?

You’re fascinating. You both are. And highly intelligent.

Have I upset you that much by asking that you calm down just for a little while?

Let me repeat this.

It’s just, I haven’t gotten ANY pm’s from ppl who are upset about my way of doing the book discussion but I HAVE gotten pm’s from ppl who decided to stop reading because they didn’t feel comfortable sharing their insights or opinions for FEAR OF BEING TOLD WHAT TO THINK.
 
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How so? Sacrificing for your kids has a limit before it is destructive to you. That's not to say you shouldn't love your children, you most definitely should. But there is a limit to use the child at home and not working before you kick their rear out of your house.
I think we’re defining sacrifice differently.
 

lludwig

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I HAVE gotten pm’s from ppl who decided to stop reading because they didn’t feel comfortable sharing their insights or opinions for FEAR OF BEING TOLD WHAT TO THINK.
Well, there are things we can tell 100% fact what Ayn Rand meant on specific topics. Yes, you can think about how you wish, but that's not what her intent was.

I certainly don't tell how others should think, it's your life.

~~~~
Where, if anywhere, have you shared a problem you had with this chapter? Where have you stated a concern of yours? Where have you wondered about something aloud?

I’m sorry if I missed it.. you don’t seem full of curiosity or wonder or enthusiasm for sharing YOUR doubts.. you seem focused on getting us talking about what you feel is important in the book.
LOL what chapter are we are in again? I've been reading ahead.

For these chapters not really. Ones coming up yes.
 
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For these chapters not really. Ones coming up yes.
This is precisely the reason I’ve been going back and forth with you.

We’re not there yet.
 

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