As far back as 1934, Rand wrote in her journal,
“The human race has only two unlimited capacities: for suffering and for lying.” …… “That the worst curse on mankind is the ability to consider ideals as something quite abstract and detached from one’s everyday life.” (Journals of Ayn Rand, page 66)
MSK, (reply to your post 280):
You said you had one question, which I believe was,
Would Rand write to herself that she was insanely jealous?
I’m afraid my answer will not include anything you don’t already know.
I believe that Rand acted consistently with her philosophy. Rand would not write she was jealous, for the same reason she would not say she was jealous. Because it was not true. However, if she did feel jealousy, she would have immediately recognized it as inconsistent with every thing she believed and then examined her premises. I don’t think that Rand could ignore such an emotion.
Nothing about Rand would be consistent with her thinking that what she had just published in IOE were mere abstractions without relevance in her personal life. Many people, perhaps most people, are capable of great unrecognized evasions and self-deceptions; they could be jealous and ignore it or pretend to themselves they had no such emotion. However, Rand’s fiction and philosophy directly addressed jealousy. She could only do such a thing as an intentional conscious evasion. Rand’s journal entries in PARC show that she was clearly and consistently accessing her relationship with Branden and there were no signs of denial.
Rand left behind a huge body of work that expressed a consistent philosophy. Rand’s personal notes are consistent with that philosophy, in particular the journal entries in PARC. Rand claimed to live in accord with her philosophy; she wrote, “And I mean it.”
The facts known publicly provide strong convincing proof of the truth of that statement. I have read only some of Sciabarra’s works, but I believe he corroborates Rand’s statements regarding her history. Rand appears to be an extremely honest person, who held truth as her highest value. So yes, I believe her until contrary evidence would call that issue into question.
The Brandens did so. As I agree with a prior statement of yours that it is unfair to lump Barbara and Nathaniel together, I will say that each of them wrote separately that Rand was jealous, possessive and dictatorial. Those qualities are such total contradictions of Objectivist values, it would necessary follow that Rand was a hypocrite.
As a personal choice, I formerly fell in to that group of people that “follow the philosophy not the philosopher” and thought that like many great thinkers, that Rand’s personal life may have fallen far short of her philosophy.
That was extremely disappointing as Rand’s major step forward was that there was no theory practice dichotomy. Most other great thinkers and artists saw no real problem if their abstract values were not practiced in the “real world.”
PARC was an absolute revelation to me. Valliant’s work undermining the Branden’s credibility was significant. But Rand’s own words proved that she was not at all in denial and was not only practicing her philosophy in a totally consistent way, but was using her principles to expose Branden’s fraud----not the fraud of the affair, but the fraud that he was living an other-directed life, that he had drifted and lost sight of his highest values.
By Branden’s own admissions he had abandoned truth. Patrecia was his then perceived highest value, but he was limiting his affair with her and denying its existence, so that he could continue to lie to Rand in order “to protect” Rand. Perhaps if he were Catholic, he could be sainted for such conduct. However, to betray one’s own highest values for the sake of another is not an Objectivist value. Nor is the belief that a prolonged series of lies will somehow improve anyone’s life.
So to counter Rand’s assertion of “and I mean it.” We have the personal recollections of the Brandens. N. Branden admits to extensive, prolonged and elaborate lies, on the very subject of his relationship with Rand. It was Branden who claims to have put the altruist value of Rand’s well being over his own self-interest. It was Branden who asserted his lies were necessary to protect others. It was Branden who acted in accord with achieving his perceived highest values through dishonesty.
When I find that someone has admitted numerous lies on the very subject in controversy, made internally inconsistent statements about the subject in controversy and who openly admits that he used lies for the good of others, while suppressing his own highest values, who believed someone could benefit from being lied to and not facting the truth, and whose actions were consistent with those immoral beliefs over several years, I think it is rational to distrust anything that person says.
Therefore, I believe Rand over Branden.
I do not think Rand was always correct. As examples I think Rand was wrong about gays, and was an idiot to smoke.