Tag Archives: Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand was a philosopher and writer. She wrote philosophy and two of the best novels ever written: “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead”.
Ayn Rand created her own philosophy, Objectivism.

Young persons who hold that conviction [that ideas matter, that truth matters], do not have to “throw off the leading conformity of the only society they have known.” They do not conform in the first place: they judge and evaluate; if they accept any part of the prevalent social trends, it is through intellectual agreement (which may be mistaken), not through conformity. They do not need to know different types of society in order to discover the evils, falsehoods or contradictions of the one in which they live: intellectual honesty is the only tool required.

Ayn Rand, “The Inexplicable Personal Alchemy,”
Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution

Who is destroying the world?

You might not think that the economic views you hold are promoting socialism, but many of you would be wrong.

70 years ago, Ludwig von Mises, wrote an argument against the Middle-of-the-Road Policy that is very prominent in many self-proclaimed capitalist countries today.

Even in this country which owes to a century of “rugged individualism” the highest standard of living ever attained by any nation, public opinion condemns laissez-faire. In the last fifty years, thousands of books have been published to indict capitalism and to advocate radical interventionism, the welfare state, and socialism. The few books which tried to explain adequately the working of the free-market economy were hardly noticed by the public. Their authors remained obscure, while such authors as Veblen, Commons, John Dewey, and Laski were exuberantly praised. It is a well-known fact that the legitimate stage as well as the Hollywood industry are no less radically critical of free enterprise than are many novels. There are in this country many periodicals which in every issue furiously attack economic freedom. There is hardly any magazine of opinion that would plead for the system that supplied the immense majority of the people with good food and shelter, with cars, refrigerators, radio sets, and other things which the subjects of other countries call luxuries.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You should read Mises, and other champions of reason, and make an effort to understand good ideas better.

If you chose not to care, to ignore it, I echo the words from Atlas Shrugged:

Do not ask, ‘Who is destroying the world?’ You are.

Programming and Philosophy

I am learning programming. The programming language I chose to learn is Scheme.

Why learn Scheme, a symbolic programming language, of all things?

The reason is that I want to understand the conceptual thinking of programming. Regarding programming, Curi (Elliot Temple), told me:

you need the big picture instead of to treat it like a bunch of math.

Scheme looks to have good resources for doing that. From Simply Scheme’s foreword:

It [Simply Scheme] emphasizes programming as a way to express ideas, rather than just a way to get computers to perform tasks.

This is the essence of how good philosophy works as well: learning to understand concepts, integrating them into the big picture, and avoiding contradictions in the process. Objectivism teaches this. In Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, Ayn Rand writes:

There are two different methods of learning: by memorizing and by understanding. The first belongs primarily to the perceptual level of a human consciousness, the second to the conceptual.
[…] The second method of learning—by a process of understanding—is possible only to man. To understand means to focus on the content of a given subject (as against the sensory—visual or auditory—form in which it is communicated), to isolate its essentials, to establish its relationship to the previously known, and to integrate it with the appropriate categories of other subjects. Integration is the essential part of understanding.

Rand, in Atlas Shrugged:

Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.

Do you see the similarities between good philosophy and Scheme programming?

By learning programming I work on philosophy – and by learning philosophy I work on my programming.

I am using Simply Scheme to learn Scheme.

“Well, that might sound good in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice.”

Sometimes, when you try to make an argument in a discussion, someone might say something like “Well, that might sound good in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice.”

Let us consider that for a moment. What do they mean when they say something like that? If it actually sounds good in theory, why are they so fast to say it won’t work in reality?

In “Philosophy: Who Needs It” (chapter 2, Philosophical Detection), Ayn Rand, explores on this:

“This may be good in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice.” What is a theory? It is a set of abstract principles purporting to be either a correct description of reality or a set of guidelines for man’s actions. Correspondence to reality is the standard of value by which one estimates a theory. If a theory is inapplicable to reality, by what standard can it be estimated as “good”? If one were to accept that notion, it would mean: a. that the activity of man’s mind is unrelated to reality; b. that the purpose of thinking is neither to acquire knowledge nor to guide man’s actions. (The purpose of that catch phrase is to invalidate man’s conceptual faculty.)