Advice on Rand biographies by Leonard Peikoff -- Fatwa

William Scott Scherk's picture
Submitted by William Scott Scherk on Mon, 2009-12-07 19:38

A sewer-dweller at That Place transcribed pertinent advice from Leonard Peikoff, and further remarks from today's podcast posted at The Bubble.

Q: Do you plan to read either of the new Ayn Rand biographies?
A: NO! I won’t read any of them, EVER!

Q: Do you have any advice in this regard for others?
A: Yes, do the same. I have had enough experience in my years of what these people write, uh, I’ve authorized one, um, biography, and its in the works and some day hopefully, uh, will be done, but my experience has been SO HORRENDOUS, with so many people interested in doing a biography that I just stay away from it entirely. Uh, the dishonesty of the people, you know they start with an interview and in the old days I interviewed then I quickly stopped. But now, this is the kind of thing I get, um, somebody wrote with one of these biographies, and we wrote back a form letter saying, hiss hiss, the Estate of Ayn Rand has no, uh you know what, dealings, er, or correspondence with any biographer. That’s it, a form letter, better worded than that. And the book came out, in the acknowledgements, thanked the Estate of Ayn Rand for its correspondence. So, ha ha. Here’s another one, the archives of the institute, I think this is one of the current ones, have, are, are open to anybody in the universe. They’re not restricted to Objectivists, eh, so anybody can get in. So somebody apparently, one of these biographers has in her blog, either thank you or I don’t know, Dr. Peikoff has approved my access to the archives. So, the whole thing is too disgusting to be imagined. That’s my view. This is not even to say, oh I’ll take it back, I don’t even want to start with it.

Ok this is a good jump from these biographies to the concept of disease. Cough Cough.


William, the echo effect on

Ted Keer's picture

William, the echo effect on that video really makes Peikoff sound creepy. I listened to the original audio when it came out without any such impression. It's instructive to see how influential stuff like that can be. Do you use your youtube skills to better end than this parody? I'd like to see something well intentioned or celebratory, or maybe an attack on a more deserving and timely enemy.

I was five when the first Six

Ted Keer's picture

I was five when the first Six Million Dollar Man pilot aired. I quickly accepted the premise that Steve Austin was really cool. Then came Jamie Sommers, which muddied the issue. Then Max, the bionic dog.

Peikoff on free will and sexual identity

William Scott Scherk's picture

Youtube has the excerpt from Peikoff's October podcast in which he seems to say that one day, with the help of psychological science, gays and lesbians may be able to choose a correct sexuality. It's two minutes or so of the finest philosophical thinking on the subject of orientation arising from unconscious premises. On the whole, Peikoff thinks we will have to wait around a hundred years to re-engineer our selves this way.

[from the caption file]
Q: Does a person have free will in regard to
Does a person have free will in regard to his or her sexual identity?

A: I would say generally no, because your sexual identity results from basic premises accepted unknowingly when you were very young, maybe four or five, accepted implicitly as generalizations about yourself, the opposite sex and the world. As such, these are not chosen by will, they are impressions that go into your subconscious without your awareness. And then at an appropriate point they issue in a certain type of sexuality, such as you're straight or you're gay.

Now, neither of those were, quote, chosen, in the normal meaning of the term. Nobody can say when I was four, or when I was seven or whatever, one day I said, I'm going to be straight or I am going to be gay. That is a consequence of complex premises not as such subject to will.

Now you can ask but doesn't the mind choose all of its ideas. The answer is yes, but you may very well have innocent error that are beyond your power to detect at the time. That is always a possibility. And your sexual orientation may be a resulting part of those errors, and once your subconscious is set that way, you have no choice, any more than you do basically over the type of appearance that matters to you, though that you can change more easily.

Now you may ask don't you have free will as an adult, to unearth your errors, or change your mistakes, and change your sexuality. I think that can be done in some cases, but for the most part, by everything I have seen, psychology is simply not advanced enough to enable a person to do it. Not today. Now I think that if science continues, in some point, maybe a hundred years or more, they will find out how to make introspection on that level, and reintegration on that level possible, and then of course you can say from that perspective you can choose your sexuality, or at least you could choose to correct one, but I don't believe that that can be done today.

I've heard of one or two cases, but it's very questionable to me whether that's a real change or was a bisexual person who has repressed one side and switched to the other.


Linz don't be scammed by

Linz don't be scammed by these guys. Listen to the podcasts yourself. I do and vehemently disagree with the summaries posted on that site.

Oh dear ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

We're back to "unfortunate and sub-optimal" are we? What complete tripe. If this be "objective" then call me a raving subjectivist, proudly.

Rand gets a free pass for that BS, but not Leonard.

Yes, it was bizarre. And it

kinsella's picture

Yes, it was bizarre. And it was right after his discussion of the proper philosophical response to premature ejaculation.

For more Peikoffiana, see my posts Peikoff on Curing The Gay (oddly, in the latest podcast if I heard him right one of the questions he responded to was from a gay man, about whether he should tell his ex-lover/now-friend that he had once cheated on him); The Westerner: Rand’s Favorite Poem; Objectivism on Patients versus Fetuses; Peikoff on the Right to Act Irrationally; Peikoff on Copyright, Michael Jackson.

There it is right there ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Cultism. It's still there.

Book-burners. They're on both sides of the divide.


Kasper's picture

that's good to know. Poor guy. Gosh, hey takes a long time to say what he wants to..... Is he getting very old now?

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