Enjoyment Friday

Friday, April 09, 2010

(The "Three Good Things" Edition)

Due to a minor emergency, I've had scant time to piece any two consecutive thoughts together this morning and am now in something of a rush as well. So, in the spirit of greeting the weekend by focusing on the positive, I'll borrow a page from Martin Seligman's book and list three good things from the past day.

1. My Cold -- It may seem counterintuitive to include illness on such a list, but hear me out. I went all winter wondering when I was going to catch cold, what with every other subway commute resembling a tour of a tuberculosis ward. Nothing. Even with me being around many more people than in the past, I fell into my usual pattern of staying well until warmer weather arrived (and I'd forgotten all about colds) and then -- bam! -- getting sick. The odd severe cold like this one really makes me appreciate my usual good health, particularly as I notice my renewed vigor during my recovery. I was laid out for most of Monday and lethargic until late yesterday. I have a mild headache now, but I can breathe again and it feels great. I can't wait for the almost delirious feeling of energy I always get after sleeping off the last of a cold.

2. The Football Wizardry of Lionel Messi -- Again, counterintuitive. But as I watched highlights of this guy single-handedly dismantling my favorite club team, I was in awe of his skill. Among his four goals were a hat trick during a 22-minute span.

3. This Quote (via this morning's HBL) from Galt's speech in Atlas Shrugged:

It is your mind that they want you to surrender--all those who preach the creed of sacrifice, whatever their tags or their motives, whether they demand it for the sake of your soul or of your body, whether they promise you another life in heaven or a full stomach on this earth. Those who start by saying: "It is selfish to pursue your own wishes, you must sacrifice them to the wishes of others"-- end up by saying: "It is selfish to uphold your convictions, you must sacrifice them to the convictions of others."
Respect for the minds of her audience is probably the single thing that impressed me the most about Ayn Rand as an intellectual when I first encountered her, and is still one of the things I value the most about her to this day.

Far too many intellectuals, whose altruism is not necessarily obvious, would have you surrender your own judgment to their say-so. Ayn Rand never has done this, and would rather you reject her philosophy because you don't see it, rather than pay ignorant or second-handed lip-service to it.

As always, thank you, Ayn Rand!

-- CAV


: Three clarifications and several minor edits.


Steve said...

She had an amazing respect for the intelligence of ordinary people didn’t she?

This is a pretty good litmus test for my respect. Those who don’t have this respect of their audience do not have my respect.

“Ayn Rand never has done this, and would rather you reject her philosophy because you don't see it, rather than pay ignorant or second-handed lip-service to it.”

Aristotle did as well. He would have been appalled by the way his ideas were accepted without question in the middle ages. You are right that very few intellectuals are like this. I know of a few scientist who are.

The single thing that impressed me the most about Ayn Rand was her epistemology and to this day it is still the most impressive thing about her to me. You know what though, this is absolutely a necessary cause of her respect for her audience.

Gus Van Horn said...

It's funny that you mention the unquestioning "respect" Aristotle got in the Middle Ages which included, if I recall correctly lots of propagation-by-authority of factual errors of his in non-philosophical disciplines (medicine in particular). My initial impression of Aristotle in college was colored by knowledge of these factual errors (which actually had no bearing on the value of his philosophical ideas), leading me to be prejudiced against him. (The very phrase 'The Philosopher' evoked derision in my mind at first.)

In any event, the point you make about Rand's epistemology being crucial to her respect for her audience occurred to me as I made a post-publication edit. I had said that this respect remained the most valuable thing to me about her to this day. In the sense that it reflects her epistemology, that's true, but it's not the whole story, of course.