Ayn Rand - For the New Intellectual

Book Title: For the New Intellectual
Author: Ayn Rand
Genre: Political philosophy
Available on Kindle: yes
Preview: yes
Pages: 224
Amazon Link: ** For the New Intellectual here**

Released in 1961, this is what many have called a manifesto against Nihilism. It’s the first of her non-fiction work laying out her objectivist philosophy. Though it’s been many years since I’ve read this book, a good part of it constitutes my on philosophical viewpoint. Though I find her thinking brilliant, I also find it shallow. Though she clearly subscribes to Friedrich Nietzsche’s view on God, religion and spiritualism, she builds a good structure beyond it into what she considers an objective reality.

She makes an argument that in place of God, or an external moral compass, man can be guided by his own enlightened self-interest. She also stipulates that that there is an objective reality by which existence can be judged. It doesn’t matter that there are things we don’t know as long as there is a level of consistent relevance to our perceptions that we can interact with. She was raised and educated in the Soviet Union so think of her as a liberated communist intellectual who disliked the communist economic and political concepts, because she could see their effects.

Her writing is good and clear. It is worth reading, but it’s not most peoples cup of tea unless you’re into philosophy. Though I enjoy her work, like I said, I find her thinking rather shallow which would be expected since she was working out her thinking at the time. She recognizes that there is an objective reality outside her own perceptions but she makes the mistake of assuming it would have to be directly relatable to our own parameters. In some ways, she’s very hedonistic, judging what may or may not be right, on what she can perceive directly without considering unknown potential consequences.

Whatever your philosophy, it is worthwhile going through her arguments and thinking, because it will have some influence on your own.33

Is this guy’s last name pronounced (more or less) NEET-chuh? If so I think he’s the one of whom I’ve heard Dr. Ravi Zacharias speak on his Christian apologetics radio program Let My People Think.

That’s him.

I figured it was likely; it looks like a Germanic name, and I know that the German language doesn’t have silent “e”.

That’s the guy about whom the following joke was made:

A piece of paper was posted on a bulletin board with the words:

God is dead. - signed Nietzsche

Underneath it, some wiseguy scribbled:

Nietzsche is dead. - signed God

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Nietzsche - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Neet chee

rhymes with peachy

Rhymes with NIETZSCHE

beachy, chichi, peachy, preachy, screechy

Nietzsche - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary


Neet cheh

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Friedrich Nietzsche was a brilliant German Philosopher but like many brilliant men he felt himself above such notions of God.

*“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” * Is one of his more notable statements.

Interesting OP. (Its fascinating to have one’s mind engaged.)

Long live books and three cheers for the inkwell and the pen.

Philosophy can be an engaging subject, as well as the people who have helped stretch human awareness and shape civilization.

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This is a terrible book. One of my undergraduate political philosophy professors loved Rand, but would cringe whenever this book was brought up, just because it’s so embarrassingly awful. It’s no exaggeration to say that she’s wrong about almost every single thing she says about the history of philosophy. Her interpretations of Hume and Kant aren’t just wrong, they’re comically false, to the point where she often accuses them (and others) of saying literally the opposite of what they’re actually saying. Rand wrote a lot of very bad philosophy, but even so, this one stands out as particularly worthless.

It often goes unrecognized that Nietzsche’s statement “God is dead” actually comes from a long Protestant tradition dating back to Luther. Traditional Catholic philosophy had concentrated on the life and resurrection of Christ as the moments from his life that have the most to teach us, but Luther emphasized the “death” of God. For good reason, I think: the symbolism of humanity “killing” God is unlike anything from any other religion. Among philosophers, it was actually Hegel who first reemphasized this idea of the “dead God,” and Nietzsche was merely playing with this tradition. Nietzsche, who came from a long line of Protestant ministers, is a deadly foe of Protestant Christianity in part because he understands it so intimately. Even when I disagree with him, it’s hard not to be a bit in awe of his insight into Protestant thought.

You said it yourself, ‘Among philosophers, it was actually Hegel’. Hegel influenced other philosophers and philosophy, they in turn influenced the masses. Does perception, even if false, over time become the reality. And it is not uncommon for people to assume someone has a point of view simply because they argue a point of uncertainty and propose possibilities.

False perceptions run rampant through history, they are more the norm than the exception. As I said, her thinking here was rather shallow but when placed among her other work, it provides an little insight into the process of the development of her philosophy. Considering her influence to object thought, it’s something worth noting for those very few that find such matters of interest.

Heh, Rand really wanted to believe that she was the uber-frau. Not that she didn’t have some insights,but she had her blind spots, as well.

I like the tongue-in-cheek response that I’ve seen to that one on FB: “In that case, I should be able to bench-press a Buick…”

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Will Durant characterizing Nietzsche:

"… the road to the superman must lie through aristocracy.
Democracy — this mania for counting noses — must be
eradicated before it is too late.

The first step here is the 
destruction of Christianity so far as all the higher men are 
concerned. The triumph of Christ was the beginning of 
democracy; the first Christian was in his deepest instincts 
a rebel against everything privileged; he lived and struggled
unremittingly for equal rights; in modern times he would 
have been sent to Siberia.

‘He that is greatest among you,
let him be your servant’ is the inversion of all political wisdom,
of all sanity; indeed as one reads the Gospel one feels the
atmosphere of a Russian novel, they are a sort of plagiarism
from Dostoievski. Only among the lowly could such notions
take root; and only in an age whose rulers had degenerated
and ceased to rule."

Source: The Story Of Philosophy, Will Durant, page 465
(I typed in the passage, thus no link.)

Says Durant:

"The early death of his father left him a victim to the holy
women of the household, who petted him into an almost
feminine delicacy and sensibility. He disliked the bad boys
of the neighborhood, who robbed bird’s nests, raided
orchards, played soldier, and told lies. His school-mates
called him ‘the little minister’

...all his life long he was to
seek physical and intellectual means of hardening himself 
into an idealized masculinity."__Will Durant, page 437-438
(same work cited).


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[quote="Freddie Nietzsche, I guess?] “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

[QUOTE=Fantasy Chaser, post:14, topic:46314"]
I like the tongue-in-cheek response that I’ve seen to that one on FB: “In that case, I should be able to bench-press a Buick…”
• “bench-press a Buick”! I grinned broadly.

• I have heard that maxim all my life and have always wondered why they don’t change it
to something like “Many unfavorable situations which do not kill us makes us stronger.”
(That I could “sign on to” … I mean how would being forced to watch cannibals boil and
eat your beloved wife and dearly loved 5 children and your 3 closest friends and then
your arms and legs, make one stronger? And the “that which” of that maxim would
certainly include what I just described.)

• Re “Many unfavorable situations which do not kill us makes us stronger.”

I think the same basic idea is expressed in the New Testament.

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering
produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” __Ro. 5:3-4

Freddie Nietzsche went totally unhappy-bitter in his later years and
then Freddie went insane and died in that condition, “the once
powerful mind broken, helpless, and resigned”, as Will Durant
puts it.

That reminds me of what Paul said in the New Testament:

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who
are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power
of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? 
Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish 
the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the 
world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased
 through the foolishness of what was preached to save those 
who believe.

22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and
foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called,
both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom
of God. 25

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human 
wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength."

I Cor. 1:18-25


Freddie could have had a happier life if he had made a decision to forget
about Freddie and what Freddie preferred and had made a decision to
spend his life in a cause greater than what Freddie preferred. But Freddie
chose to make Freddie Freddie’s god and it drove him literally insane.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is
not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not
easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in
evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails."
I Cor.13:4-8


Very interesting.

Btw, I never liked her haircut :wink:


Most non-religious people are apathetic at the mention of God. For some, responses can become extreme, ranging from a cringe to going outright apoplectic. Perhaps it’s a distaste for religion with its many historic excesses, or an excuse to indulge in excessive behavior. Maybe an intellectual snobbery designed to re-enforce one’s own ego, or even likely, a combination of all three.

Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.
~ Blaise Pascal

I think that it’s not a distaste for religion - they just bring up the excesses as an excuse - but I think it’s partly the fear that they are truly wrong, as well as the desire to not be held accountable for their behaviour.