| Michael, in answer to your call for examples, besides the singular comments, I'd submit that both Branden bio's are a claim to something wrong with Ayn Rand's psychology. But you address the issue in this post, which suggest you already know this, any any example I give has already been answered in your post:|
You quote N.Branden: "And yet, at some level I, too, was aware of something wrong in Ayn, an explosive rage that did not fit my more exalted view of her. "
You then write: "From what I gather in this context, he was discussing an irrational streak evidenced by her "explosive rage" that was perceivable in her eyes to him (and Patrecia). I would be more inclined to view this use of "madness" or "mad" in a more popular sense (meaning something more akin to emotional to the level of irrationality) than the clinical sense of diagnosed mental illness. He also limited the surges to a specific context of types of instances ("enormous anger" from Patrecia and "to think of Ayn as mad in any respect" from him) instead of making it a broad psychological "insane personality" judgment."
Regarding your take on how the Brandens used terms of psychology in regards to Rand: Read your Szasz and you will see why I consider your distinction an error. I agree with him that the use of words like mad, crazy, insane are not to be used lightly, they are means of social control to deal with ""undesirable behavior."
"Clinicial sense of diagnosed mental illness?"
Consider this from Nathaniel Branden:
"Interestingly enough, it was Barbara who challenged me to look at Ayn realistically on this subject. One day, not long after the break, when I was trying to defend some aspect of Ayn's behavior because of how hurt she was, Barbara said, "Nathan, be a psychologist. Look at Ayn as if she were a client in your office. She's been in love with two men, and the first was passive and totally subordinate to her, and the second was a man, no matter what his strengths, twenty-five years her junior. What are the implications of that? Ayn needs to be in control. And look at how she behaves when she can't be." I was stopped dead in my tracks — because I saw that Barbara was right."
And this: "For example, in the two-year period following the publication of Atlas Shrugged, I visited her on an average of two or three evenings a week for the express purpose of trying to help her with a problem that was so distressing to her that she was unable to write or to project her future goals: the problem of her disgust with and revulsion at the intellectual state of our culture. Many other examples, of a more personal nature, could readily be cited."
"I stressed the fact that I believed Miss Rand's accusations were the result of great emotional stress, and that she would not stand by them when she was more calm.
There are certain extraordinary and shocking psychological aspects of this conflict with Miss Rand, about which I want to comment briefly. I refer to the quality of what can only be called religious mania which characterizes the behavior of many of Miss Rand's supporters. "
So, yes, Ayn did a lot of projecting, on Frank and on me, to justify and make sense of her feelings for each of us. There's probably a little projecting in all relationships, but Ayn took projection into the stratosphere. She over-praised me many times. That was really harmful — and seductive. So long as I was "her" man, everything I did was "genius." Very intoxicating to a young man.
What is Branden? A psychologist. What is the mind? We are not talking neurological diagnosis, we are talking mental diagnosis, which are issues of philosophy. They ARE diagnosing Rand by claims that "MRS. LOGIC" was in fact behaving irrationally. It is Branden the psychologist who, after hearing Rand gush in adulthood over her childhood hero Cyrus, diagnosed Rand as a victim of arrested development. Branden the psychiatrist who said: "If Ayn could have faced her emotions honestly, if she could have let herself examine her fears, hurts, angers, and jealousies — above all, if she could have admitted fully how wounded she was — she would have been a far greater human being and would have left a far greater personal legacy. " Or this: "It was hard for Ayn to fully see anyone's needs but her own. This is often true of highly creative people with an over-riding sense of mission. We get something very close to narcissism." Or this: "people with a less grandiose view of themselves probably have a better chance of succeeding in such a project with some reasonable degree of sanity and balance. Ayn and I — who were operating totally out of reality — had no chance whatsoever." (At least he includes himself here.)
Michael, the Brandens know just how deep to bite the hand that feeds them; both bio's claim this or that about Rand, then go on to deny the claims. For example, they bring up issues of Rand's paranoid behavior or cultism, then spend time debunking the claim that Rand was paranoid because of amphetamine use (even as Barbara quotes the doctor as saying of the possiblity "maybe they did, maybe they didn't"), or denying that Objectivism was a cult because it didn't meet the standard criteria. Their arguments amount to: " Rand was a genius, but she was mental. But she was a hero. But she did a lot of harm. But she was warm and tender. But she was cold and callous."
(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 11/24, 9:56pm)