Credo Tweaked

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Thu, 2006-06-29 02:36

I've just revised the wording of the Credo slightly, mainly to accommodate recent developments in the Objectivist world. Here is the tweaked version:

SOLO—Sense of Life Objectivists

"The total passion for the total height."
Rational passion and passionate reason.
Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
"This above all, to thine own self be true."

Welcome to the web site for SOLO—Sense of Life Objectivists.

SOLO is for those who—to invoke George Walsh's famous remark when he helped David Kelley launch the Institute for Objectivist Studies—consider themselves "homeless Objectivists" still. It’s for those who, after 15 years of IOS/TOC, want an alternative to repressive religiosity within Objectivism other than the timid, tepid somnambulist ecumenism that pervades TOC (now renamed The Atlas Society). It's here for any Objectivist, aligned or non-aligned, who agrees with this Credo.

SOLO seeks to galvanise all Objectivists who recognise that Objectivism is a tool for living, and who repudiate any reason/passion dichotomy. We seek to be a magnet and a home for those who are exuberantly rational and rationally exuberant, who aspire to the "total passion for the total height"—intellectually and emotionally, simultaneously and harmoniously.

We aspire to embody within our ranks and promote at large a culture of sincerity and integrity, where mind-games, deceit and posturing—and having to read between the lines—in one's dealings with others are a thing of the past, where Shakespeare's "This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. ..." is second nature.

SOLO is for those who want reason and logic to be liberated from the Mr. Spock straitjacket and impregnated with KASS—the "kick-ass" factor—in the service of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We see ourselves most emphatically as being at war with the current culture: the culture of anti-heroes, nihilism, destruction and dishonesty (hence a significant, though by no means exclusive, focus on esthetics here). Yet we acknowledge that Objectivism's critics can be honest, and should be granted more than a perfunctory discussion or two before being dismissed out of hand. We acknowledge that Ayn Rand made mistakes, that she didn’t answer every question that could be asked (and should not have been expected to), that she was wrong about some matters of considerable existential moment, such as homosexuality (which matter we have already addressed). But we salute her as an epoch-changing giant—comparable to Aristotle—whose mistakes were of little moment when compared to her unprecedented insights and whose life was indeed a Post-Script to her philosophy that said, "And I mean it."

We want to help Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, become the living, breathing, growing, vibrant, reality-orientated, life-affirming phenomenon that it really is when untainted by religiosity. We want to plant another flower, fierce and radiant, in the Garden of Reason.

We seek nothing less than to change the world.

Lindsay Perigo
Founder and Principal


( categories: )

Linz, Fred, ARI ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Linz, I keep telling you that ARI hasn't moved away from what you regard as "repressive religiosity" because there was nothing to move away from. What you saw in that light was a heightened need for "quality control" at the time of the publication of BB's PAR and the founding of TOC.

No! "Quality control" meant head-in-the-sand, & the founding of TOC was an entirely legitimate rebellion against such reality-denial & everything it led to.

Harry is still on the Board as are a number of the very same people who were intimately involved with the founding of the Institute, including Mike Berliner, the first head of the Institute, and John Ridpath, who wrote that scathing and dismissive review of Sciabarra's RR.

Berliner's a good guy & Ridpath is a magnificent KASS lecturer. If they're still involved I have no concerns. If Harry's still involved I do.

So, if you think they are guilty of "repressive religiosity" why don't you see it anymore? It's not because they've changed. Maybe it's because *you've* changed. You've had to deal personally with precisely the same people and issues they have.

I don't see it because its perpetrators have apparently been marginalised. I get e-mails from insiders saying this is so & it's a damn good thing & may it continue till the perpetrators have been ousted totally.

Look, ARIians are not shrinking violets and we don't subscribe to the phoney and sickening "hugs and kisses" approach of e.g. the Ollies. So differences can exist without it effecting all of our fundamental commitments to Objectivism - and our support of ARI. That in itself should lead you to question the charge you are making.

Now Fred, you know I wouldn't want ARIans, or anyone at all, to be shrinking violets, and that I regard Brandroid O-Liars & their touchy-feely phoney "love" as beneath contempt & unspeakably nauseating. And I didn't link my charge of "repressive religiosity" to the ARI. You did. That's because, I suspect, you know deep down that time was when the cap often fitted—but of course you can find repressive religiosity elsewhere, including within The KASSless Society. Look at Bidinotto's attitude to The Affair! Bidinotto's barking-mad intrinsicism on that makes Peikoff look like a raving empiricist!

Point is, SOLO eschews both repressive religiosity, wherever it is found, AND subjectivist/nihilist ennui, wherever that is found (mainly within The KASSless Society).

Problem? Smiling

Linz, ARI hasn't moved away

Fred Weiss's picture

Linz, I keep telling you that ARI hasn't moved away from what you regard as "repressive religiosity" because there was nothing to move away from. What you saw in that light was a heightened need for "quality control" at the time of the publication of BB's PAR and the founding of TOC. Harry is still on the Board as are a number of the very same people who were intimately involved with the founding of the Institute, including Mike Berliner, the first head of the Institute, and John Ridpath, who wrote that scathing and dismissive review of Sciabarra's RR.

So, if you think they are guilty of "repressive religiosity" why don't you see it anymore? It's not because they've changed. Maybe it's because *you've* changed. You've had to deal personally with precisely the same people and issues they have.

I'm sure they don't feel any differently today about defending Ayn Rand's name and her philosophical legacy than they did 10 or 20 years ago. It's just that the context has changed significantly - of which you should be especially aware since you have been a personal player and an eye witness to it.

Incidentally, don't overlook 9/11 as a key event which also brought some important differences into sharper relief.

As for Leonard not speaking to Harry, I have heard rumors to that effect also, but what it is about (assuming it is true) I don't know. But I strongly doubt it is about what you think it is. The need to maintain high standards is not something they've ever disagreed about. They have however had their differences, including over Leonard's support for Kerry in 2004. There were fireworks on HBL over it for months leading up to the election. There are other serious differences among some Objectivists, including over Leonard and Dave Harriman's view of modern physics. Some of these differences I understand have also become personal. In a peripheral and minor sort of way I have experienced some of that sort of thing myself.

Look, ARIians are not shrinking violets and we don't subscribe to the phoney and sickening "hugs and kisses" approach of e.g. the Ollies. So differences can exist without it effecting all of our fundamental commitments to Objectivism - and our support of ARI. That in itself should lead you to question the charge you are making.

Diana ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Linz said: "ARIans seem to find it impossible, for instance, to come right out and say, flat-out, 'Ayn Rand was wrong about homosexuality.'" Impossible? Here's my refutation:
Ayn Rand was wrong about homosexuality -- terribly wrong.

Good for you! But then, I wouldn't have expected anything less from you (even while I disagree profoundly with you over "unfortunate and sub-optimal"). And of course James Valliant has stated a similar position right here. But it wasn't you guys I had in mind!

I can only imagine the agony of the gay Objectivists who subject to whatever "cures" were offered by NB and the like on the premise that their homosexuality was immoral.

True, but we must remember from whom they got that view. And being told, utterly irrationally, you're "immoral and disgusting" by someone you generally admire and whose philosophy you support and espouse is a "big stinking deal" when you're on the receiving end of it. Trust me on that!

Linz, I presume that folks need not agree with the whole credo (as opposed to the few quoted lines at the top) in order to participate on SoloPassion? I agree with some parts but not others, so I'd like to be clear.

Of course folks need not agree with the whole Credo to participate here. Occasionally we get someone who doesn't agree with a word of it! Part of what is encouraged here is debate. Good faith debate, that is, with those who disagree honestly and innocently. Part of what has dismayed me lately about TOC/KASSless is that, after all the years of moaning about how ARIans won't engage, when confronted with ARIans who do they've run away. That bespeaks bad faith to me.

Re the Credo—I'm willing to revise any part of it I can be persuaded is wrong. But I take huge heart from comments like Claudia's that it's given her the courage not to pull her punches.

Dan—thanks so much for your kind comments.

Linz

Disproving Linz

DianaHsieh's picture

Linz said: "ARIans seem to find it impossible, for instance, to come right out and say, flat-out, 'Ayn Rand was wrong about homosexuality.'"

Impossible? Here's my refutation:

Ayn Rand was wrong about homosexuality -- terribly wrong. I can only imagine the agony of the gay Objectivists who subject to whatever "cures" were offered by NB and the like on the premise that their homosexuality was immoral. (From what I've seen, that's a pretty standard opinion amongst folks at ARI.)

However, I do think it's important to note that such was the standard view of homosexuality at the time -- and it was supported by the psychologists she knew, e.g. our dear friend Nathaniel Branden. (In PSE, he also claimed to be able to cure migraines by therapy. Yeah, right.)

Linz, I presume that folks need not agree with the whole credo (as opposed to the few quoted lines at the top) in order to participate on SoloPassion? I agree with some parts but not others, so I'd like to be clear. (Or are the few quoted lines the credo?)

In any case, I do think it's important to be able to thoughtfully say, "Ayn Rand was wrong about X for ABC reasons" without making a big stinking deal about it. Objectivism isn't all that Ayn Rand ever wrote, so the truth of her philosophy and the magnitude of her achievement is not dependent upon the supposition that she never uttered a false claim in her life. That's a strawman erected by those who wish to abuse her.

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

Lindsay

Dan Edge's picture

You desreve a lot of credit for your continued commitment to intellectual growth, both for yourself and for SOLO.  I don't always agree with you and you can be a royal asshole when you want to, but I have to respect and appreciate the way you're always thinking, always trying to improve, always trying to do the right thing, always trying to make a difference.  Hell, what would the world be like without SOLO?   A bit boring, that's for sure.

--Dan Edge

Mulling ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The point about acknowledging that Rand made mistakes is not that she did—it's that Brandroids (who insist on the moral perfection of the Brandens) claim that Rand's defenders insist not just on her moral perfection (never consciously violating her own precepts) but her infallibility. Yet on reflection I think that even the most Randroidian anal-retentive would never claim that.

I need to rethink that segment of the Credo.

Linz

Edited to add: no I don't. The point is not that Rand herself admitted to mistakes. The point is that SOLO is, in part, for those who can bring themselves to say, "Ayn Rand got such-&-such wrong" without thinking that to do so somehow diminishes her or hoping and intending it to diminish her (a la the Brandens). ARIans seem to find it impossible, for instance, to come right out and say, flat-out, "Ayn Rand was wrong about homosexuality." SOLOists have no such problem.

Fred ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Linz, I'm surprised that you still think there is some "repressive religiosity within Objectivism" for which you have to provide an alternative. Where? From whom?

From your mates Binswanger & Schwartz mainly. I've not changed my mind about the culture they created, nor have I said anything to suggest I have. I've aplauded the ARI for moving away from it.

(Don't forget, Linz, that you are accused of it yourself for exercising moral judgment).

To which I happily plead guilty. That is not what *they* are guilty of. *They* are guilty of being prize jerks—from a rationalist/intrinsicist base, philosophically speaking, and a basic love of behaving like assholes, psychologically speaking. And correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that Leonard doesn't speak to Harry any more because of it.

Or that the tired old strawman of "reason and logic" trapped in a "Mr. Spock straitjacket" still applies - if it ever applied - to any significant number of Objectivists.

It most certainly did. If it doesn't still, I can live with being guilty of overkill. The Spock Straitjacket is a huge enemy.

What also is the point of acknowledging that Ayn Rand made mistakes when it is so obvious a non-issue given that she herself admitted them?

That's a *very* good point. Let me mull.

Linz

Linz, I'm surprised that you

Fred Weiss's picture

Linz, I'm surprised that you still think there is some "repressive religiosity within Objectivism" for which you have to provide an alternative. Where? From whom?

(Don't forget, Linz, that you are accused of it yourself for exercising moral judgment).

Or that the tired old strawman of "reason and logic" trapped in a "Mr. Spock straitjacket" still applies - if it ever applied - to any significant number of Objectivists.

What also is the point of acknowledging that Ayn Rand made mistakes when it is so obvious a non-issue given that she herself admitted them?

Claudia

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Being "at war" with contemporary culture was put there in part with David Kelley in mind. He once told me quite emphatically (for him) that we aren't. And that explains a lot! Smiling

Linz

Hi Linzy

Olivia's picture

An excellent Credo.

I must say, I struggled a little with the phrasing of "being at war" with the current culture. I saw it more as "out of harmony". But in thinking about it, I can see that it is a war. I want the cynical, bleak, comatosing aspects of emotional repression and small mindedness DEAD, not just obscured.

Thankyou for encouraging me not to pull my punches!

Mean what you say?!

Rick Giles's picture

Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

That sticks with me a bit.

It seems to mean (but does not mean) that we are advised to be literal but never metaphorical in our expression. That would be a great loss to a language dependent on saying what one means but almost never meaning what one says (software engineeirs excepted.)

Try and read Shakespeare without metaphorical interpretation and see how far you get. It's the enlish language in all its richness to resist this credo.

I always say what I mean but if I happen to mean what I say it's just a coincidence. How else could it be?

So if it's not a ban on all metaphore then what is it? And what is it doing there?

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