Summer Seminar 2009 Announcement

The Atlas Society's picture
Submitted by The Atlas Society on Mon, 2008-12-29 23:17

Summer Seminar 2009 Announcement
December 29, 2008

To members and friends of The Atlas Society:

Many of you have said that the Summer Seminar is one of the most fulfilling experiences of your year. We at the Atlas Society sincerely acknowledge what a pleasure it is to host this event and connect with the vibrant individuals who make up our community. And so it isn't without a touch of sorrow that we publicize the cancellation of the 2009 Summer Seminar.

This decision has come at the end of a long deliberation about how best to use our time, money, and staff expertise to spread the message of Open Objectivism, especially while we maintain our footing in this rocky economic environment. We have concluded that the internet is the most cost-effective method to deliver our product. Currently, our website attracts over 250,000 viewers every month, with a substantial portion from overseas: Europe, Latin America, India, and East Asia. This level of exposure is an enormously positive achievement for our organization.

However, the current TAS website is not adequate to sustain the further gains we believe are possible. To bring these gains to fruition, we need a radically redesigned website. This project-the redesigning of our website-will be a major focus for 2009. While our existing site has a wealth of material on Objectivism, we need navigation tools that enable users to find what they want across the breadth of material and to the depth of their interests. We plan to add interactive features and make use of diverse media: audio, video, blogging, and email bulletins, as well as text.

The content of our website is where our staff expertise factors in. The staff of the Atlas Society will be called on for tasks such as selecting, editing, and organizing old material-including hundreds of lectures from Seminars past; creating new material, both written and audio-visual; and structuring the site to make it appealing to intended users. These tasks require knowledge of Objectivism. At key points, the project will place heavy demands on the content creators on staff: David Kelley, Ed Hudgins, and Will Thomas.

Our content is also where you, our members, factor in. We deeply value the insight and commitment of the individuals in the Atlas Society. We implore you to refocus with us and accept our warm invitation to lend your ideas to our developing website, and to our publications, especially The New Individualist. To what topics would you like to see Objectivism applied? What questions do you have about the philosophy? What have we written in the past that you've found inspiring, helpful, challenging, or simply enjoyable reading?

As our website becomes more streamlined and accessible to a worldwide public, our goal is to gain more members-smart and creative individuals like you. You have already helped to create the spirit of the Atlas Society by your support and your participation in our programs, events and in our literature. After all, the culture of our movement is determined not only by our staff, but also by our supporters. Your engagement will affect the impression we make and the audience we draw to our website. We are listening, and we want you to share your thoughts with us.

We hope you will share in our big-picture vision. With the successful completion of our website project in mind, we look forward to an invigorating Summer Seminar in 2010. The 20th anniversary of Open Objectivism will be an event to celebrate in style. We can't wait to see you there.

Best regards,
David Kelley

P.S. To contact any of us or to offer support to The Atlas Society, e-mail or call 202- 296-7263 (202 AYN RAND).

The Atlas Society

phone: 202 AYN RAND (296 7263)

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TAS just posted their online plans above

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

If they continue in the vein of the synopsis ideas they currently have, the revamped website should have some great content. Many of us have been begging for this material to be put in print form for some time.


It's a fair question,

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

It's a fair question, Kenny. My brother and I have benefitted a lot from their Seminars, but I would say our cluster of interests around mathematics, cognitive science, psychology, philosophy of science is not shared by everyone.

The biggest success I've seen that is TAS-linked is Stephen Hicks' Center for Entrepreneurship at Rockford College, but Stephen deserves the credit for that.



Kenny's picture

What has Atlas/TOC contributed to the development and growth of Objectivism in the last three years?

Where is the intellectual substance in Kelley's statement?

Well, productivity is one

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Well, productivity is one Objectivist virtue they are going to have to revisit. You know, I read that Diana Hsieh death watch post and I laughed. I'm glad that she's found an intellectual home where she can be happy and productive.

It's the bitterness I don't understand and it's the same bitterness I disliked in the Branden biographies minus the untruth.

If TAS does make a success of their new international strategy, they will have earned it, if they don't they can fold up their tents. Even if that happens, I will still consider them friends.

If I didn't know I have an intellectual direction (or several) of my own, it might bother me. When they offer something of value to me, I join in. When they don't, I don't.


Total rubbish

Kenny's picture

Why is the new website so poor? It was redesigned a couple of years ago.

Does the website really attract 250,000 unique viewers? I have my doubts because the forum is very quiet for a site with a lot of visitors.

"At key points, the project will place heavy demands on the content creators on staff: David Kelley, Ed Hudgins, and Will Thomas." The problem is that the current content is poor so what's going to change?

"We plan to add interactive features and make use of diverse media: audio, video, blogging, and email bulletins, as well as text." Why can't the site do that now? These features can be added quickly using free software like WordPress. That task should take no more than a couple of weeks.

This message is actually a damning indictment of Atlas/TOC's management.

Oh come on Heaps!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Wotta wimpy, Buddhist post! Eye Kick their asses! Give 'em heaps, Heaps! They'll take notice of you. And you know they need it. So they've just woken up to the Internet? Sheesh!

I certainly wish TAS well

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

I certainly wish TAS well with this newest strategy. They are putting all their eggs in one basket so hopefully it will work out. The web strategy was mentioned at the Summer Seminar. Most of us did not realize the kinds of choices that had to be made.

I guess everyone will meet up in about a year and a half to talk about it. Good luck to everyone at TAS!



Lindsay Perigo's picture

The period of "long deliberation" David talks about is actually of about 10 years' duration. Possibly that's long enough.

"Open Objectivism" rings hollow of an organisation that capitulates to pressure from a lynch-mob and disinvites speakers. Hate to sound like a cracked record, but what I'm saying is the truth. Just as "Open Objectivism" rings hollow of an Objectivist organisation that, qua organisation, refuses to discuss a book defending Objectivism's founder. Especially when David himself, the founder of said organisation, called for precisely such discussion when founding said organisation! It's the ARI that can now claim to be "open," while TAS is closed. David says they, TAS, are listening. I guess that's why they boycott SOLO!

When he took over from Kelley, Hudgins acknowledged the need for the then-TOC to KASS up. What happened? And are we not now seeing the consequences of their failure to do so?

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