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Post 60

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 2:34pmSanction this postReply
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Robert,

In regard to his own romantic life and personal values, Branden was, according to Rand, an intrinsicist and a rationalist, imposing a twisted view of Objectivism, his "Kantian stylized universe," onto what he thought philosophy "demanded" of him. This is what wasn't "working" for him. This is made clear in the notes.

Whatever Branden's motives were for what he was saying about Patrecia -- this formed an important basis of Rand's opinion of her.

To be honest, I began my project believing that explanation #2 was the case. But I began to see the complications in that view, at least any over simplistic version of it.



Post 61

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 3:25pmSanction this postReply
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Joe:

Regarding sensory integration issues - the lack of habituation or filtering is exactly what I mean. I think that some people also experience underarousal and need to have constant sensory input to remain focused and calm. What feels a bit at odds to me is the idea that a person who basically held that there is one reality and our senses are able to perceive it could have been experiencing the world differently than me. I have trouble staying focused with distractions due to a head injury. That seems radically different to me than being able to look around and see the entire spectrum of light, or feeling the vibrations of a room so strongly that it induces nausea, and so on.

I have never met a person with Asperger's who had intense eye gaze, I have only had the opposite problem (aversion to eye contact). Although my kids have had perseverative speech, they do not converse as typical people - it is rushed, monotone, and somewhat like self-talk. But I only see young patients, so maybe I only have part of the picture.

Sensory processing difficulties is something I only became interested in a year or two ago, when I started working with Easter Seals. I think that if I had known more about it sooner I might have been more successful with some of my PDD clients.



Post 62

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 3:30pmSanction this postReply
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     I'm quite sure that N. Branden (as well as B. Branden) has been keeping track of these several threads pertaining to Valliant's book.

     It sure would be interesting if he defended himself against these ongoing arguments for continued negative evaluations against him (beyond for what he mea culpa'd in his memoirs)... as he similarly did in his, in effect, anti-Randroid justifications in Diana Hsieh's NoodleFood blog for his activity there.

     Maybe both the Brandens decided to, well, move on...as Rand did.

     Maybe we all should.

LLAP
J:D

P.S: Weren't both Brandens' books a supposed personal-defense against all the never-ending 'rumors' being circulated against them by early "O'ists"? If so, whatever their, at best, 'biased' views on Rand, can it really be argued that they started this whole 'public' laundry-airing? I suspect not...unless...that was a lie; if it wasn't...well...maybe this whole prob can be laid at the doorstep of early "O'ists" chronic gossiping?

PPS: Speaking of 'gossip', isn't that what all this discussion now has become for all...other than for the book-writers themselves?

PPPS: I'm glad that someone took up my question re Barbara and 'jealousy.' Unfortunately, the answer seems to bolster Rand's analysis of Patrecia's (-'type') place of 'lesser', which one is never 'jealous' about. Jealousy is envy that someone else has more of something desired by another-whom-one-desires...not less. (Unless it's argued that Rand 'rationalized' what she was supposedly analyzing, such as 'lesser mind' instead of the presumedly more relevent 'more youth' --- but no one's actually 'argued' that she was rationalizing here.)

(Edited by John Dailey on 11/23, 4:08pm)




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Post 63

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 3:48pmSanction this postReply
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NB gave up debates long time ago, !
The  only reaction  he had about  the book was;Valliant Who?




Post 64

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 4:00pmSanction this postReply
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Ashley: " What feels a bit at odds to me is the idea that a person who basically held that there is one reality and our senses are able to perceive it could have been experiencing the world differently than me."

Ash, I share your concern, believe it or not. Rand was the one who chastised writers for suggesting mechanistic explanations to human behavior (LETTERS OF AYN RAND has some of her personal criticisms to other writer's work in this regard) and she even questioned the use of referring to Roark's atheism as a "lack of a religious brain center." BUT, while Rand did believe (and I agree) that there is one reality, she did recognize that our sense are limited as to how they can experience it. She even hypothesized about how imaginary creatures may see different aspects of the same reality. That is why see rightly emphasized the role of reason in interpreting the sense data, since the data cannot always be trusted. (Example, the pencil bent in the water example.)

A person with Aspergers has to learn the use of reason more urgently than others because of another trait: mind-blindness, or the tendency to project one's own state of mind onto another. (A test for Aspergers-autism involves showing a child a video of someone hiding a marble in a box. In the video, another person enters the room. The child is asked where the person will look for the hidden marble, and the Aspergers child may respond "in the box", ignoring the context of the second person's ignorance.) Autistics often assume that what they are thinking is the same as what others are thinking. (Which often leads to angry responses since it is assumed that everyone thinks the same way, so the other person must be evading...).

I am glad that you mentioned that most of your experience of people with Aspergers's are children. It is a relatively recently recognized "syndrome", and many have grown up "undiagnosed" and learn to compensate. It is NOT debilitating; rather, most of the problems, like depression, alienation, etc., are not symptoms of Aspergers but of clashes with a society that doesn't understand. For years, Asperger traits simply considered "nerdy," "eccentric", antisocial even. (In my case, I garned the nickname "space cadet.") In many cultures, such people were at a disadvantage for not playing the social game. But with the rise of the tech industry, which is said to harbor many introverted asperger types, we're seeing the tide turn. When the culture allows for the conditions needed to thrive, Aspergers's is not a syndrome but an advantage, and the talkative socialite is at a disadvantage (put 'em in sales.) :) And I don't think it's a coincidence that Rand's philosophy is big among the Silicon Valley crowd.



Inability to predict the possible behaviours of others, which can lead to the person with Asperger Syndrome developing a sense of insecurity and a resultant avoidance of people;
Not being able to comprehend the intentions of those around him, nor understanding the motivations of their actions;
A lack of understanding concerning their own emotions or the emotions of others. This can manifest as a lack of empathy, which is often not accepted or understood by the people within their social circle;
Poor comprehension of how one’s behaviour affects how others feel and think about you. This can lead to a lack of motivation to please and a lack of conscience;
Minimal understanding/concern regarding what people know or want to know and a defective ability to detect or react to their audience’s level of interest This can result in either, the person with Asperger Syndrome speaking endlessly on a subject providing excessive detail, or else providing minimal background material, but just launching into a complex verbal account of a subject that the audience has no knowledge of, or interest in;
Minimal understanding as to why their focus of attention must change, whether it be in a conversation or in a classroom setting etc. For instance, if the person with Asperger Syndrome is concentrating on a specific task or talking to you on a chosen topic and you want to move on to another task, or alter the topic of conversation;
Due to the impediment in the area of social interaction, there is often a lack of understanding as regards the need to “take turns” in conversation and allowing others to talk without interruption, or the need to take takes turns in the playground etc;
Inadequate understanding of the action of “pretending” and an inability to separate fact from fiction, or the ability to be deceitful, is often present.
All of the above, adversely affect the person’s ability to establish and maintain friendships. These areas of impediment also affect their ability to benefit from daily life, learning and teaching.



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Post 65

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 4:17pmSanction this postReply
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Joe,
"Autistics often assume that what they are thinking is the same as what others are thinking"

I've found your discussion on the subject interesting, but this is a potentially misleading line of thought. As a reasonable person, I naturally expect others to 'think what I am thinking' in similar circumstances. We do after all perceive the same reality, and in pretty much the same way. Of coures, those with different wiring are an exception, but you seem to be suggesting either that a person with a physiologically normal brain should beware insisting that others see things as he does, or that we should always beware that many of our brains are somehow signficantly different. I.e. You are opening the door to ethical subjectivism based on abnormal neurology, and by suggesting that 'abnormal' may be more common than we believe. I don't think that will hold up.

Perhaps I'm misinterpreting you, suggesting an implication you would deny. But there are hints....

Jeff




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Post 66

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 4:23pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff, I am aware of the dangers. And again, it's speculation as to whether or not Rand was or not. But it doesn't have to have the extensive implications as you suggest, it can be like this: ever see the SNL skit with the computer technician played by Jimmy Fallon? He comes in and acts like an ass towards everyone because computers are so simple to him, which means everyone else must be stupid for not understanding them.

In order not to hijack the thread too much, anyone who wants clarification on the subject can find more accurate info on various sites.
(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 11/23, 4:44pm)




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Post 67

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 7:06pmSanction this postReply
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Joe, Casey, Ashley, Jeff,

This is a fascinating discussion of Asperger's Syndrome. Joe initial list of traits was eye-opening because I immediately recognized just about all of them in myself.

But in my case, at least, it is a result of habits and interests rather than neurology or immutable emotional makeup. I know this because when there are extended intervals when I have to socialize intensively, I lose all of those traits. I'm thinking of times like rush in my fraternity at MIT, where I would spend all day talking to freshmen for a week at a time. Or the TOC seminars where I spend the whole week socializing and discussing Objectivism in regular conversations with a bunch of different people.

My fraternity brothers and I noticed that during the weekend between rush and the start of classes we could go out to Wellesley College and have radically better luck socializing with women than most of us usually had during the term. When I spend a lot of time sitting by myself hitting the books or focusing on technical work, the social butterfly side of my personality just gets a little bit cramped from under-use.

Anyone else notice this effect?

-Bill



Post 68

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 7:09pmSanction this postReply
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Bill,

Yep.




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Post 69

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 8:15pmSanction this postReply
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I'll probably be stoned to death for this but, here goes:  Does anyone know whether while writing in her private journals Ms Rand was aware of the possibility that they would one day become public?  If so, is EVERYTHING contained within those pages to be regarded as FACT, and ANYTHING contradictory to what Ms Rand wrote to be considered FICTION? 



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Post 70

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 8:35pmSanction this postReply
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Joe, I'm confused.  You said that the Brandens called Ayn Rand mentally ill and then you go on to diagnose her with Aspergers Syndrome.  As you know, my son has PDD-NOS, and is probably on much lower functioning level than Aspergers, but I would never in a million years think of Ayn Rand as having any of the traits to the degree necessary to diagnose her with an autistic spectrum disorder.   Did Nathaniel or Barbara ever come out and say that she had suffered with anything more than a bit of depression?   These are some rather heavy insinuations and it all seems a bit out of left field to me. 



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Post 71

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 8:39pmSanction this postReply
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Steven,

I don't believe for a minute that Rand would have knowingly written something false to herself. But it is a certainty that journal entries of anybody are extremely incomplete items of evidence of anything.

Part of the current noise volume is to push this fact out of general awareness and sell a bias, so I think it is extremely beneficial to a balanced view that you (and others) ask questions like that.

Michael




Post 72

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 8:52pmSanction this postReply
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Kat, in my post I state that I don't consider Aspergers a mental illness. I consider it a biased label toward some very real traits. We do live in a society that values conformity and socialization over independence and selfishness.
(The scene that Rand depicts in the Modanock Valley scene of THE FOUNTAINHEAD, the idea that people would rather be herded together, lives on today. Most workplaces stress the value of "teamwork" and "committee think" and "forced socialization." God help the person who does would rather work independently...)

The Brandens are the ones who treated Rand as being insane at times, such as insanely jealous, for example...and they used such terms beyond slang usage (which is bad enough). And Barbara has confessed her own sympathy towards the validity of psychological judgements in her book as well as on SOLO, and continues to diagnosis people on inadequate information. I was merely speculating on a possibility of Barbara's motivations being based on her acceptance of mental illness.
And to clarify, I am not diagnosing Rand with anything. The Brandens did (their diagnosis's are addressed by Szasz and Valiant.) I am speculating that if Barbara was truly reacting to real traits in Rand, if there is any validity to what they claim, that those traits have similarities to those of Aspergers, and the criticisms of Rand and the manipulation of Rand as a result are common criticisms of those with Aspergers.
If anything, I believe that if Rand did meet the criteria, she was subject to the same prejudice against those who don't fit the so-called normal psychology. (Remember, homosexuality was labeled an illness in the DMV until Szasz's efforts, among others, had it removed.)

I apologize if it seems out of left field, but this is as clear as I can make it.
(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 11/23, 9:04pm)




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Post 73

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 8:59pmSanction this postReply
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Michael, don't you think it is time to tell these people our true relationship  that I am your young  brother given to adaption to an Italian Family in 1960?
No one lies here why do we?




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Post 74

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 9:04pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

The very existence of journals describing long psychological sessions to solve Branden's sexual paralysis is evidence of something both of the Brandens left out of their biographies. Neither of them told us this was going on. Regardless of what Rand specifically writes in those journals, the smoking gun fact that she is describing something both of the Brandens neglected to tell us should cause a great deal of concern. And yet, not once have I heard you concede that that was something they should have come clean about in their biographies. Instead, you continuously repair to the baseless claim that they already confessed everything.

Deal with that fact first, this time, before going back to the old mantra, would you? The Brandens did not tell us in their biographies that they had conducted years of elaborate fraud in this way. Will you finally admit that that was deplorable and that they have not, even now, "come clean" about that fact?




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Post 75

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 9:27pmSanction this postReply
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Joe,

From your Post 32:
This goes beyond the questions raised by PARC, in my mind. As much as I admired Barbara, I had personal issues with her ideas long before. My biggest problem with Barbara's memoir (and Nathaniel's work, I should add) is their take on mental illness and how they applied it to Ayn Rand. By know my sympathies to the ideas of Thomas Szasz are well known here. I do believe that neurology is legit, and that the brain can influence a person's character. However, I agree with Szasz and Jung that psychology is more akin to religion than science. Szasz has already addressed Branden's ideas in FAITH IN FREEDOM, and even though critical of Rand, Szasz also calls into question Branden's labeling of Rand's behavior as mental illness.
(My emphasis.)

Then you just said in Post 72:
The Brandens are the ones who treated Rand as being insane at times, such as insanely jealous, for example...and they used such terms beyond slang usage (which is bad enough).
I go along with Kat here. I don't ever remember either of the Brandens saying that Ayn Rand was mentally ill or insane. (I presume that you agree that an expression "insanely jealous" is using the term in a metaphorical manner and not as a clinical diagnosis, i.e., schizophrenia or something like that.)

I just did a Google search on Szasz and Branden. Apparently, I gather that Szasz said some harsh things about Branden in his book, Faith in Freedom, but I could find nowhere that he chastised Branden for calling Ayn Rand mentally ill or insane.

I was wondering if you could provide some examples.

Michael


Edit to Casey - OK. No problem. The Brandens should have included their respective lengths of time of their deception of Rand in their books. They didn't. Bad call. Even deplorable from some angles. That invalidates their lives and contributions to you. Not to me.

Also, that still doesn't transform journal entries into complete evidence for anything - they always will be incomplete evidence.

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 11/23, 9:38pm)

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 11/23, 9:40pm)




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Post 76

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 9:43pmSanction this postReply
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Ciro,

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL...

Hang loose, bro. Things are real uptight around here.

Wait until we tell the the REAL TRUTH...

Michael





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Post 77

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 9:50pmSanction this postReply
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The journals are "complete" evidence that Branden invented a psychological condition and asked Rand for extensive and ongoing counseling for it, and they are complete evidence that Barbara knew about it and was even helping in that deception, and they are complete evidence that both Brandens left this entirely unmentioned in their books.  



Post 78

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 10:02pmSanction this postReply
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Casey,

Were those the only three points in Valliant's book? You left out a few completes.

They are complete evidence that Ayn Rand wrote journal entries. They are complete evidence that Ayn Rand was disturbed about all that business. They are complete evidence that she used paper and ink to write. (Want me to go on?)

Somehow I don't think you caught my meaning about journal entries not being complete evidence.

And somehow I don't think your three points were all that Valliant was trying to prove.

Michael




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Post 79

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - 10:21pmSanction this postReply
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Don't change the subject. We're talking about how little you're willing to concede in the face of glaring evidence, not how much Valliant proves in PARC.

"All that business" as you put it, is entirely new -- the Brandens never mentioned "all that business" at all in their books. Do you get that? All that business Rand is writing about in her journals was COMPLETELY LEFT OUT OF THE BRANDENS' BOOKS. They did not simply neglect to mention how long the duration of their deception was, as you seem to be insinuating. They removed the roles they played in this elaborate psychological counseling deception COMPLETELY.

And I have yet to hear you admit that. The journals are absolute evidence that this was occurring and that the Brandens have never come clean about an ongoing psychological charade they played with Ayn Rand over an extended period of time.

But I know -- a few posts from now you'll be saying "They already confessed all of this in their books so let's move on." The journals are absolute proof that they did not and that what they left out was a substantial part of the real picture specifically in regard to their own actions.

(Edited by Casey Fahy on 11/23, 10:36pm)




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