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acpatagnan
04-01-2008, 02:02 AM
When a man, a business corporation, or an entire society is approaching bankruptcy, there are two courses that those involved can follow: they can evade reality of their situation and act on a frantic, blind, range-of-the moment expediency--not daring to look ahead, wishing no one would name the truth, yet desperately hoping that something will save them somehow--or they can identify the situation, check their premises, discover their hidden assets and start rebuilding.
America, at present, is following the first course. The grayness, the stale cynicism, the noncommittal cautiousness, the guilty evasiveness of our public voices suggest the attitude of the courtiers in the story "The Emperor's New Clothes" who professed admiration for the Emperor's non-existent garments, having accepted the assertion that anyone who failed to perceive them was morally depraved at heart.
Let me be the child in the story and declare that the Emperor is naked--or that America is culturally bankrupt.
In any given period of history, a culture is to be judged by its dominant philosophy, by the prevalent trend of its Intellectual life as expressed in morality, in politics, in economics, in art. Professional intellectuals are the voice of a culture and are, therefore, its leaders, its integrators and its bodyguard. America's intellectual leadership has collapsed. Her virtues, her values, her enormous power are scattered in a silent underground and will remain private, subjective, historically impotent if left without intellectual expression. America is a country without voice or defense--a country sold out and abandoned by her intellectual bodyguard.
Bankruptcy is defined as the state of being at the end of one's resources. What are the intellectual values or resources offered to us by the present guardians of our culture? In philosophy, we are taught that man's mind is impotent, that reality is unknowable, that knowledge is an illusion, and reason a superstition. In psychology, we are told that man is a helpless automaton, determined by forces beyond his control, motivated by innate depravity. In literature, we are shown a line-up of murderers, dipsomaniacs, drug addicts, neurotics and psychotics as representatives of man's soul--and are invited to identify our own among them--with the belligerent assertions that life is a sewer, a foxhole or a rat race, with the whining injunctions that we must love everything, except virtue, and forgive everything, except greatness. In politics, we are told that America, the greatest, noblest, freest country on earth, is politically and morally inferior to Soviet Russia, the bloodiest dictatorship in history--and that our wealth should be given away to the savages of Asia and Africa, with apologies for the fact that we have produce it while they haven't. If we look at modern intellectuals, we are confronted with the grotesque spectacle of such characteristics as militant uncertainty, crusading cynicism, dogmatic agnosticism, boastful self-abasement and self-righteous depravity--in an atmosphere of guilt, of panic, of despair, of boredom and of all pervasive evasion. If this is not the state of being at the end of one's resources, there is no further place to go.
Everybody seems to agree that civilization is facing a crisis, but nobody cares to define its nature, to discover its causes and to assume the responsibility of formulating a solution. In times of danger, a morally healthy culture rallies in values, its self-esteem and its crusading spirit to fight for its moral ideals with full, righteous confidence. But this is not what we see today. If we ask our intellectual leaders what are the ideals we should fight for, their answer is such a sticky puddle of stale syrup--of benevolent bromides and apologetic generalities about brother love, global progress and universal prosperity at America's expense--that a fly would not die for it or in it.
One of America's tragic errors is that too many of her best minds believe--as they did in the past--that the solution is to turn anti-intellectual and rely on some cracker-barrel sort of folksy wisdom. The exact opposite is true. What we need most urgently is to recognize the enormous power and the crucial importance of the intellectual professions. A culture cannot exist without a constant stream of ideas and the alert, independent minds who originate them; it cannot exist without a philosophy of life, without those who formulate it and express it. A country without intellectuals is like a body without a head. And that is precisely the position of America today. (and also the Philippines) Our present state of cultural disintegration is not maintained and prolonged by intellectuals as such, but by the fact that we haven't any. The majority of those who posture as intellectuals today are frightened zombies, posturing in a vacuum of their own making, who admit their abdication from the realm of the intellect by embracing such doctrines as Existentialism and Zen Buddhism. (and religionism)
After decades of preaching that the hallmark of an Intellectual consists of proclaiming the impotence of the intellect, these modern zombies are left aghast before the fact that they have succeeded--that they are impotent to ignite the lights of civilization, which they have extinguished--that they are impotent to halt the triumphant advance of the primordial brute, whom they have released--that they have no answer to give to those voices out of the Dark Ages who gloat that reason and freedom have had their chance and have failed, and that the future, like the long night of the past, belongs once more to faith and force.
If all the manufacturers of railroad engines suddenly went irrational and began to manufacture covered wagons instead, nobody would accept the claim that this is a progressive innovation or the iron horse has failed; and many men would step into the industrial vacuum to start manufacturing railroad engines. But when this happens in philosophy--when we are offered Zen Buddhism (or religionism) and its equivalent as the latest word in human thought--nobody, so far, has chosen to step up into intellectual vacuum to carry on the work of man's mind.
Thus our great industrial civilization is now expected to run railroad, airlines, intercontinental missiles and H-bomb stockpiles by the guidance of philosophical doctrines created by and for barefooted savages who lived in mudholes, scratched the soil for a handul of grain and gave thanks to the statues of distorted animals whom they worshipped as superior to man.
Historically, the professional intellectual is a very recent phenomenon: he dates only from the industrial revolution. There are no professional intellectuals in primitive, savage societies, there are only WITCH DOCTORS. There are no professional intellectuals in the Middle Ages, there were only monks in monasteries. In the post-Renaissance era, prior to the birth of capitalism, the men of the intellect--the philosophers, the teachers, the writers, the early scientist--were men without profession, that is: without a socially recognized position, without market, without means of earning a livelihood. Intellectual pursuits had to depend on the accident of inherited wealth or on the favor and financial support of some wealthy protector. And wealth was not earned on an open market, either; wealth was acquired by conquest, by forced, by political power, or by the favor of those who held political power. Tradesmen were more vulnerably and precarously dependent on favor than the intellectuals. (To be continued):)

From the New Intellectual by Ayn Rand

acpatagnan
04-01-2008, 03:42 AM
The professional businessman and the professional intellectual came into existence together, as brothers born out ofthe industrial revolution. Both are the sons of capitalism--and if they perish, they will perish together. The tragic irony will be that they will have destroyed each other; and the major share of the guilt will belong to the intellectual.
With very rare and brief exceptions, pre-capitalist societies had no place for the creative power of man's mind, neither in the creation of ideas no in the creation of wealth. Reason and its practical expression--free trade--were forbidden as a sin and a crime, or were tolerated, usually as ignoble activities, under the control of authorities who could revoke the tolerance at whim. Such societies were ruled by FAITH and its practical expression: FORCE. There were no makers of knowledge and no makers of wealth; there were only WITCH DOCTORS and tribal chiefs. These two figures dominate every anti-rational period of history, whether one calls them tribal chief and witch doctor--or absolute monarch and religious leader--or dictator and logical positivist.
"The tragic joke of human history"--I am quoting John Galt in Atlas Shrugged--"is that on any of the altars men erected, it was always man whom they immolated and the animals whom they enshrined. It was always the animals attributes, not man's, that humanity worshipped: the idol of the instinct and the idol of force--the mystics and the kings--the mystics, who longed for an irresponsible consciousness and ruled by means of the claim that their dark emotions were superior to reason, that knowledge came in blind, causeless fits, blindly to be followed, not doubted--and the kings, who ruled by means of claws and muscles, with conquest as their method and looting as their aim, with a club or a gun as sole sanction of their power. The defenders of man's soul were concerned with his feelings, and the defenders of man's body were concerned with his stomach--but both were united against his mind."
These two figures--the man of faith and the man of force--are philosophical archetypes, psychological symbols and historical reality. As philosophical archetypes, they embody two variants of a certain view of man and of existence. As psychological symbols, they represents the basic motivation of a great many men who exist in any era, culture or society. As historical reality, they are the actual rulers of most of mankind's societies, who rise to power whenever men abandon reason.
The essential characteristics of these two remain the same in all ages: ATTILA, the man who rules by brute force, acts on the range of the moments, is concerned with nothing but the physical reality immediately before him, respect nothing but man's muscles, and regards a fist, a club or a gun as the only answer to any problem--and the WITCH DOCTOR, the man who dreads physical reality, dreads the necessity of practical action, and escapes into his emotions, into visions of some mystic realm where his wishes enjoy a supernatural power unlimited by the absolute of nature.
Superficially, these two may appear to be opposites, but observe what they have in common; a consciousness held down to the perceptual method of functioning, an awareness that does not choose to extent beyond the automatic, the immediate, the given, the involuntary, which means: an animal's "epistemology" or as near toit as a human consciousness can come.
Man's consciousness shares with animals the first two stages of its development: sensations and perceptions; but it is the third state, conceptions, that makes him man. Sensation are integrated into perceptions automatically, by the brain of a man or of an animal. But to integrate perceptions into conceptions by a process of abstraction, is a feat that man alone has the power to perform--and he has to perform it by choice. The process of abstraction, and of concept-formations is a process of REASON, of thought; it is not automatic nor instinctive nor involuntary nor infallible. Man has to initiate it, to sustain it and to bear responsibility for its results. The pre-conceptual level of consciousness is nonvolitional; volition begins with first syllogism. Man has the choice to think or to evade--to maintain a state of full awareness or to drift from moment to moment, in a semi-conscious daze, at the mercy of whatever associational whims the unfocused mechanism of his consciousness produces.
But the living organisms that possess the faculty of consciousness need to exercise it in order to survive. An animal's consciousness functions automatically; an animal perceives what it is able to perceive and survives accordingly, no further than the perceptual level permits and no better. Man cannot survive on the perceptual level of his consciousness; his senses do not provide him with an automatic guidance, they do not give him the knowledge he needs, only the materials of knowledge, which his mind has to integrate. Man is the only living species who has to perceive reality--which means: to be conscious--by choice. But he shares with other species the penalty of unsconsciousness: destruction. For an animal, the question of survival is primarily physical; for man, primarily epistemological.
Man's unigue reward, however, is that while animals survive by adjusting themselves to their background, man survive by adjusting his background to himself. If a drought strikes them, animals perish--man builds irrigation canals; if flood strikes them, animals perish--man builds dams; if a carnivorous pack attacks them animals perish--man writes the Constitution of the United States. But one does not obtain food, safety or freedom--by instinct.
It is against the faculty, the faculty of REASON, that Attila and the Witch Doctor rebel. The key to both their souls is their longing for the effortless, irresponsible, automatic consciousness of an animal. Both dread the necessity, the risk and the responsibility of rational cognitions. Both dread the fact that "nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed." Both seek to exist, not by conquering nture, but by adjusting to the given, the immediate, the known. There is only one means of survival for those who do not choose to conquer nature: to conquer those who do.
The physical conquest of men is Attila's method of survival. He regard men as others regard fruit trees or farm animals: as objects in nature, his for the seizing. But while a good farmers knows, at least, that fruit trees and animals have a specific nature and require a specific kind of handling, the perceptual mentality of Attila does not extend to so abstract a level: men to him are natural phenomenon and an irreducible primary, as all natural phenomenon are irreducible primaries to an animal. Attila feels no need to understand, to explain, nor even to wonder, how men manage to produce the things he covets--"somehow" is a fully satisfactory answer inside his skull, which refutes to sonsider such questions as "how?" and "why?" or such identity and causality. All he needs, his "urges" tell him, is bigger muscles, bigger clubs or a bigger gangs than theirs in order to seize their bodies and their products, after which their bodies wiil obey his commands and will provide him, somehow, with the satisfaction of any whims. He approaches men as a beast of prey, and the consequences of his actions or the possibility of exhausting his victims never enters his consciousness, which does not choose to extend beyond the given moment. His view of the universe does not include the power of production. The power of destruction, of brute force, is, to him, metaphysically omnipotent.
An Attila never thinks of creating, only of taking over. Whether he conquers a neighboring tribe or overruns a continent, material looting is his only goal and it ends with the act of seizure: he has no other purpose, no plan, no system to impose on the conqured, no values. His pleasures are closer to the level of sensations than of perception: food, drink, palatial shelter, rich clothing, indiscrimate sex, contests of physical prowess, gambling--all those activities which do not demand or involve the use of the conceptual level of concsiousness. he does not originate his pleasure: he desires and pursues whatever those around him seem to find desirable. Even in the realm of desires, he does not create, he merely takes over.

(to be contintued):)

acpatagnan
04-01-2008, 09:20 AM
the continuation...

But a human being cannot live his life moment by moment; a human consciousness preserves a certain continuity and demands a certain degree of integration, whether a man seeks it or not. A human being needs a frame of reference, a comprehensive view of existence, no matter how rudimentary, and since his consciousness is volitional, a sense of being right, a moral justificatin of his actins, which means: a philosophical code of values. Who, then, provides Attila with values? The Witch Doctor.
If Attila's method of survival is the conquest of those who conquer nature, the Witch Doctor's method of survival is safer, he believes, and spares him the risks of physical conflict. His method is the conquest of those who conquer those who conquer nature. It is not mens's bodies that he seeks to rule, but men's souls.
To Attila, as to an animal, the phenomena of nature are an irreducible primary. To the Witch Doctor, as to an animal, the irreducibleprimaryis the automatic phenomena of his own consciousness.
An animal has no critical faculty; he has no control over the function of his brain and no power to question its content. To an animal, whateve strikes his awareness is an absolute that corresponds to reality--or rather, it is a distinction he is incapable of making: reality, to him, is whatever he senses or feels. And this is the Witch Doctor's epistemological ideal, the mode of consciousness he strives to induce in himself. To the Witch Doctor, emotions are tools of cognition, and wishes take precedence over facts. He seeks to escape the risks of a quest for knowledge by obliterating the distinction between consciousness and reality, between the preceiver and the perceived, hoping that an automatic certainty and an infallible knowledge of the universe will be granted to him by the blind, unfocused stare of his eyes turned inward, contemplating the sensations, the feelings, the urgings, the muggy associational twistings projected by the rudderless mechanism of his undirected consciousness. Whatever his mechanism produces is an absolute not to be questioned; and whenever it clashes with reality, it is reality that he ignores.
Since the clash is constant, the Withc Doctor's solution is to believe that what he perceives is another, "higher" reality--where his wishes are omnipotent, where contradicitons are possible and A is no-A, where his assertions, which are false on earth, become true and acquire the status of a "superior" truth which he perceives by means of a special faculty denied to other, "inferior," beings. The only validation of his consciousness he can obtain on earth is the belief and the obedience of others, when they accept his "truth" as superior to their own perception of reality. While Attila extorts their obedience by means of a club, the Witch Doctor obtains it by means of a much more powerful weapon: he pre-empts the field of morality.
There is no way to turn morality into a weapon of enslavement except by divorcing it from man's reason and from the goals of his own existence. There is no way to degrade man's life on earth except by the lethal opposition of the moral and the practical. Morality is a code of values to guide man's choices and actions; when it is set to oppose hiw own life and mind, it makes him turn against himself and blindly act as the tool of his own destruction. There is no way to make a human being accept the role of a sacrificial animal except by destroying his self-esteem. There is no way to destroy his self-esteem except by making him reject his own consciousness. There is no way to make him reject his own consciousness except by convincing him of its impotence.
The damnation of this earth as a realm where nothing is possible to man but pain, disaster and defeat, a realm inferior to another, "higher," reality; the damnation of all values, enjoyment, achievement and success on earth as a proof of depravity; the damnation of man's mind as a source of pride, and the damnation of reason as a "limited," deceptive, unreliable, impotent faculty, incapable of perceiving the "real" reality and the "true" truth; the split of man in two, setting his consciousness (his soul) against his body, and his moral values against his own interest; the damnation of man's nature, body and self as evil; the commandment of self-sacrifice, renunciation, suffering, obedience, humility and faith, as the good; the damnation of life and the worship of death, with the promise of rewards beyond the grave--these are the necessary tenets of the Witch Doctor's view of existence, as they have been in every variant of Witch Doctor philosophy throughout the course of mankind's history.
The secret of the Witch Doctor's power lies in the fact that man needs an integrated view of life, a philosophy, whether he is aware of his need or not--and whenever, through ignorance, cowardice or mental sloth, men choose not to be aware of it, their chronic sense of guilt, uncertainty and terror makes them feel that the Witch Doctor's philosophy is true.
The first to feel it is Attila.
The man who lives by brute force, at the whim and mercy of the moment, lives on a narrow island suspended in a fog of the unknown, where invisible threats and unpredictable disasters can descend upon him any morning. He is willing to surrender his consciousness to the man who offers him protection against those intangible questions which he does not wish to consider, yet dreads.
Attila's fear of reality is as great as the Witch Doctor's. Both hold their consciousness on a subhuman level and method of functioning: Attila's brain is a jumble of concretes unintegrated by abstractions; the Witch Doctor's brain is a miasma of floating abstractions unrelated to concretes. Both are guided and motivated--ultimately--not by thoughts, but feelings and whims. Both cling to their whims as to their only certainty. Both feel secretly inadequate to the task of dealing with existence.
Thus the come to need each other. Attila feels that the Witch Doctor can give him what he lacks: a long-range view, aninsurance against the dark unknown of tomorrow or next week or next year, a code of moral values to sanction his actions and to disarm his victims. The Witch Doctor feels that Attila can give him the material means of survival, cn protect him from physical reality, can spare him the necessity of practical action, and can enforce his mystic edicts on any recalcitrant who may choose to challenge his authority. Both of them are incomplete parts of a human being, who seek completion in each other: the man of muscle and the man of feelings, seeking to exist without mind.

(to be continued):)

agta
04-01-2008, 07:54 PM
Professional intellectuals are the voice of a culture and are, therefore, its leaders, its integrators and its bodyguard. America's intellectual leadership has collapsed.
It is easy to say that! As easy as to say, "Ayn Rand's intellect is the one that collapsed".

agta
04-01-2008, 08:16 PM
The majority of those who posture as intellectuals today are frightened zombies, posturing in a vacuum of their own making, who admit their abdication from the realm of the intellect by embracing such doctrines as Existentialism and Zen Buddhism. (and religionism)
This may be true during the days of Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand here is actually talking about himself. He was one of the intellectual zombies during his time. He was an intellectual failure.



After decades of preaching that the hallmark of an Intellectual consists of proclaiming the impotence of the intellect, these modern zombies are left aghast before the fact that they have succeeded--that they are impotent to ignite the lights of civilization, which they have extinguished--that they are impotent to halt the triumphant advance of the primordial brute, whom they have released--that they have no answer to give to those voices out of the Dark Ages who gloat that reason and freedom have had their chance and have failed, and that the future, like the long night of the past, belongs once more to faith and force.

Try preaching that a good speaker is one who shall not use his mouth in speaking. Try it and see if you can convince the good speakers. That is as absurd as preaching that the hallmark of an intellectual consists of proclaiming the impotence of the intellect No one in his right mind would ever do that. Ayn Rand simply created a monster in his imagination, believed that the monster is real, and then carries himself out trying to destroy the monster that he created in his imagination.

acpatagnan
06-14-2008, 07:05 PM
This may be true during the days of Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand here is actually talking about himself. He was one of the intellectual zombies during his time. He was an intellectual failure.




Try preaching that a good speaker is one who shall not use his mouth in speaking. Try it and see if you can convince the good speakers. That is as absurd as preaching that the hallmark of an intellectual consists of proclaiming the impotence of the intellect No one in his right mind would ever do that. Ayn Rand simply created a monster in his imagination, believed that the monster is real, and then carries himself out trying to destroy the monster that he created in his imagination.

She was talking of intellectual like Emmanuel Kant and others of the same kind at that time. Emmanuel Kant's philosophy was prevalent and accepted fully in all colleges at that time.

Emmanuel Kant is a German philosopher. Hitler was the product of his philosophy. The proof is history. The root of Kants philosophy is Plato. And this philosophy still in the minds of most professors in humanity course in college even today. It is in the idea of religion. Even taught in seminaries or theologies. Ayn Rand brilliantly identify it.

agta
06-18-2008, 11:23 PM
She was talking of intellectual like Emmanuel Kant and others of the same kind at that time. Emmanuel Kant's philosophy was prevalent and accepted fully in all colleges at that time.

Emmanuel Kant is a German philosopher. Hitler was the product of his philosophy. The proof is history. The root of Kants philosophy is Plato. And this philosophy still in the minds of most professors in humanity course in college even today. It is in the idea of religion. Even taught in seminaries or theologies. Ayn Rand brilliantly identify it.
No. Ayn Rand simply created a monster in his mind and then carried himself out to destroy the monster that he created in his mind. And you were made to believe that the monster exist.

acpatagnan
06-20-2008, 04:08 PM
To Agta,

Can you identify the monster? It is the idea that becomes a reality. Like I said Emmanuel Kant idea is accepted in the minds of the German people then Hitler applied that idea. What is the result?

The topic is For the New Intellectual.

The intellectual refer to those who are involved in intellectual developemnt-the professor in philosophy in humanities, teachers, religious teacher.

When we say intellect we mean the mind. The full use of the mind as the only means of knowledge. In college and universities, the course in humanities, what ideas they are focusing to teach or emphazises? How about if the school is religious school? The mind is impotent to solve human problem? Faith is the only solution to human problem?