Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quote of the Day

Nathaniel Branden was Ayn Rand's protege and "intellectual heir" for 2 decades before they had a famous falling out in 1968.

In a
2004 interview, Branden recalled...

Ernest Van Den Haag, a sociologist, wrote a fascinating book called The Jewish Mystique. I read that book, got a lot out of it, and went over to Ayn and said, “I’ve got to tell you something shocking.” Because we never thought of ourselves as Jewish in any important way, I announced, laughing, “We are both exponents of the Jewish messianic tradition. We believe we are here on earth to be signposts pointing to the good life.”

What I got out of that book was how Jewish that was. The whole idea of these prophets coming along, or however he was describing it—it fit Ayn and me to a tee. I thought that was very funny.

I thought it was funny too - but for personal reasons. As someone who is half-Jewish by descent, maybe I've inadvertently become part of the "Jewish messianic tradition."

Also, I think it's interesting that according to Branden's Wikipedia page...

Branden has also been known to talk freely of his interest in matters that Rand would have considered epistemological "mysticism," such as ESP, and has had a publicized relationship with Ken Wilber.

Hmm, maybe Mr. Branden - like other materialists before him - is stumbling into a form of "Spiritual Rationalism..."


Anonymous said...

Check out the DVD movie, the Passion of Ayn Rand. If you are familiar with Rand and Branden, or if you have ever met either of them, it will be interesting. All of these people except for Miss Rand's husband are Jewish. They are strangely intent upon creating their own private little world in NYC where rules don't apply (like the Ten Commandments). When men imagine they can become Gods, they fall.

Todd White said...

I did see that movie, and I thought it was quite good, all things considered. Helen Mirren, in particular, did an outstanding job portraying Ayn Rand.

I don’t disagree with your statement “When men imagine they can become Gods, they fall,” if by that, you mean men should never aspire to be infallible, because that is simply impossible. Unfortunately, it did seem that Rand expected absolute perfection and loyalty from her followers in her later years, which was unfair and tarnished the reputation of Objectivism to this very day.

Even now, the “leaders” of Objectivism expect unflailing loyalty to Rand which is – to put it in terms they should understand – “illogical.”