Nathaniel Branden, 1930-2014

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture
Submitted by Kyrel Zantonavitch on Thu, 2014-12-04 07:50

A great psychologist and philosopher!

Nathaniel Branden, R.I.P.
by Brian Doherty

"Nathaniel Branden, the man who turned Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy into a popular intellectual movement, died today at age 84.

"He and Rand famously broke over complications involving a long-term affair of theirs that ended badly in 1968; the tale is told at length from his perspective in his memoir—the most recent edition called My Years with Ayn Rand—and interestingly, from his ex-wife Barbara Branden's perspective in her 1986 Rand biography, The Passion of Ayn Rand.

"After the break with Rand in 1968, Branden had his own highly successful career as a hugely popular writer on psychology, and he is a pioneer of the vital importance of "self-esteem" in modern culture.

"Unlike the way the concept has been denatured over the decades, Branden, still Objectivist at heart, wrote with the understanding that creating a worthwhile and valuable life from the perspective of your own values was key to self-esteem, and thus to psychological health. That is, self-esteem wasn't something that should be a natural given to a human, nor our birthright, but something to be won through clear-eyed understanding of our own emotions and their sources, and our values and how to pursue them...."

(from the article in Reason:

Nathaniel Branden 1930-2014
by James Peron

"One of the most fascinating, and perhaps controversial figures, of modern America, Nathaniel Branden, died this morning in Los Angeles after a long illness. Dr. Branden was 84. He was known as a close associate of Ayn Rand's and the father of the modern self-esteem movement. He is preceded in death by Barbara Branden, his first wife and Patrecia Branden, his second wife. He is survived by his wife Leigh Branden, former wife and friend Devers Branden and nephews Jonathan Hirschfeld and Leonard Hirschfeld.

"Born in Brampton, Ontario, April 3 1930, as Nathan Blumenthal he received a BA in psychology from the University of California Los Angeles, an MA from New York University and a Ph.D from the California Graduate Institute.

"As an undergraduate he wrote a letter to Ayn Rand regarding her novel The Fountainhead, which earned him a phone call from the novelist/philosopher. He and his girlfriend, Barbara Weidman, visited Rand's home north of Los Angeles and became close friends and associates.

"After the publication of Rand's magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, Branden created the Nathanial Branden Institute and presented lectures on Rand's philosophy, Objectivism. Branden systematized Rand's philosophy, something she had not done, and presented lectures on the ideas, published as The Vision of Ayn Rand...."

(from the article in the Huffington Post:

Woah - that Peron

Andrew Bates's picture

Woah - that Peron article!

For a few sentences there I thought it was spinning dangerously out of control and losing its purpose.
But he managed to turn it around and make an article about the death of Nathaniel Branden be more about Jim Peron, its rightful focus.

Faith restored in this doubting Thomas.

Begging to differ

Lindsay Perigo's picture

One of the cleverest con-men ever. Glib and plausible to a fault. On the level? Not remotely. Ayn Rand's biggest mistake, with no other mistake coming close. Guilty of all the things he accused her of, including intellectual bullying. Told Tibor Machan their friendship would be over if Tibor kept posting on SOLO. An ignoble liar, whose systematic, conscientious deceitfulness screams from the pages of Rand's journals, where we know much more in hindsight than she knew at the time. An extraordinarily angry man who made anti-anger a virtue and legitimate rage a vice. Boorishly judgmental while damning valid judgmentalism as the world's worst sin. One of the great disarmers of the good.

No loss at all to anything decent.

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