Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Leonard Peikoff: Not A Randroid.

I'm sorry to say it took until yesterday for me to listen to a Leonard Peikoff podcast; and I listened to a couple.
I found the man to be a civil, steady and assured speaker, not always sparkling perhaps, but then, how many of us can claim that we are always sparkling or even care?

I was pleased to discover that I am yet an Objectivist in spite of the fact that I have differences and disagreements with Ayn Rand in several areas.

Dr. Peikoff was emphatic that one must be an independent thinker, not a blind follower, and told the amusing anecdote of the chap who thought dying his hair orange might make him more like John Galt.

More impressive than what he said was the way he said it, the way he behaved. At no time was he prescriptive in his approach to other people's behaviour; rather, he was descriptive.

He sounded as though he wanted to chat, not convert.


Not a Randroid by any means, although I am constantly irritated by the inherited linguistic aesthetics of some of his and his companions' output.
With a whole language to choose from, it should be possible for somebody to use a word like, oh, 'assemble', instead of the word 'integrate', which sounds like a frown at it's own confusion, and has always struck me as a sign of Ayn Rand's own comparative dryness when writing non-fiction.(Her artistic prose on the other hand can be quite, quite wonderful).

Randroids on the other hand, divorced from the normality of consciousness, will berate, abuse, scorn, violate, bully and preach, thinking all the while that they have the Word of Rand to back them up, some quote from her works, or some quote that was interrogated from her during her life by way of 'clarification', so that they may feel like conquerors.

They try to freeze-dry the fading feelings given them by her works of art as the means of repressing their own genuine feelings of horror at what they are doing, believing all the while they are not a mob because they are few in number.

There came a day in my life when I said, to quote Edmond Rostand, "I stand alone as Satan against the armies of Heaven", and at this stage to read one of her works is to actually enjoy it, not 'feel it' or 'experience revelations'.

When a savage worships a Cyclotron, he is still a savage. It doesn't civilise him. There is no mystic process, no sudden wisdom. There is only the essential disinterest in oracles that leads to intelligence.

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