Gideon Reich

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Everything posted by Gideon Reich

  1. The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics

    Right. The Institute presently lists her as Shoshana Milgram. I'll assume that's correct and I apologize for the error.
  2. Happy Birthday to Gideon Reich

    Thanks very much!
  3. I'm interested in forming a weekly study/social group in South Orange County, California. I live in Aliso Viejo and by South Orange County I include such localities as Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Laguna Beach, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, etc. At this stage I have in mind a rather informal group and hope to begin by studying OPAR using Gary Hull's Study Guide. Location and time yet to be determined but I'm thinking of meeting during a weekday (say Wednesday, 7pm) at an appropriately sized local diner/restaurant or bookstore. If interested email me at
  4. The article on Yaron Brook is entitled 'You don't fight a tactic'. The article on Ayn Rand is called The nexus. Both are by Orit Arfa and both are fairly sympathetic and respectful.
  5. The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics

    All right, let me as it were, think out loud a little. How did I even find out about this affair? I had read Barbara Branden's biography shortly after I became a student of Objectivism. Mrs. Branden portrayed the affair as wrong and futile from the beginning. While it was admitted that it was all out in the open and no force was involved, Ayn Rand was portrayed as browbeating both her husband and Mrs. Branden into agreeing to it.At the time I thought the affair was strange, though not immoral since no dishonesty was involved. I simply dismissed the whole thing as irrelevant to the ideas and my understanding of them. But as I learned more about Ayn Rand and Objectivism I did have some trouble integrating the possibility of non-exclusive love with the rest of her ideas. As I have already stated, given what James Valliant has written, the original portrait painted by Mrs. Branden of how the affair came about is clearly false. It certainly does not seem likely that Frank O'Connor would be made to do something he truly objected to and Mrs. Branden seems far from innocent if she has had her own secret affairs before that point. Why do I care so much what Ayn Rand was thinking at the time? The affair apparently lasted about 14 years. While not defining Ayn Rand's life, it was clearly an important part of it. Ayn Rand took her relationships seriously. She did not have a fling; she attempted to have a long term serious and intimate relationship. I don't think my desire to know what Ayn Rand was thinking when the affair started is significantly different from our desires (and actions, through the purchase of Valliant's excellent book) of wanting to know what Ayn Rand thought at the time of the break-up. In the case of the book, Valliant, in addition to showing the contradictions between the Brandens, uses Ayn Rand's journal notes to demolish the image of "a woman scorned" that they were trying to paint. Perhaps, I desire to completely eliminate the image that Mrs. Branden painted of how the affair started by reading Ayn Rand's first hand thoughts about it, in addition to the plausible arguments that Valliant and others have provided. I'm trying to understand Ayn Rand's comment paraphrasing slightly, that it was a mistake but it was right to attempt it. I can't quite see why this would be an invalid desire. If I did not care that much about Ayn Rand's life and context then why would I have bought Valliant's book at all? After all, I had already read the web version. I was hoping that the journal notes would finally give us Ayn Rand's side of the story and in many ways they did. Look, despite what it seems above I'm not obsessed with this it is merely an unresolved (or only partially resolved) issue in my mind. I'm not losing any sleep over this. I'm willing to accept the plausible case provided by Valliant but wouldn't it be more insightful to see what Ayn Rand herself said?
  6. The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics

    I listened to Dr. Peikoff's talk a few years ago and I'm coming to the conclusion that the above is as close as I can get to understanding what Miss Rand was after. It does seem to be a rare, exceptional situation in which one is in love with two seemingly worthy people simultaneously and at the same time the two people do not make one choose between them. It seems that while the O'Connors were up to the challenge of the attempted relationship, the Brandens weren't (nor were they worthy of it) and thus as Miss Rand admits in the journal notes that Valliant quotes, it was a mistake.
  7. The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics

    I guess I am interested for two related reasons. One is that personally, I cannot see myself doing this and I know for a fact that my wife would not tolerate this nor would I tolerate this in my wife. I consider my wife mine exclusively and she feels the same way about me. That was certainly part of reason we got married. So yes, personally I cannot justify it but I hesitate to judge what Miss Rand did in the absence of her own words about it. I know I don't understand Miss Rand's context well enough to judge. Valliant claims various observations in support of the idea that neither Miss Rand nor Frank O'Connor were as jealous as apparently my wife and I are. And, as others have pointed out, it was all done voluntarily with no lies, at least on the part of the O'Connors.The other reason is polemical. Certainly it is possible to dismiss the whole thing as "none of our business" but if there's proper general principle here I would rather understand and be able to defend it.
  8. The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics

    Right -- that's essentially the point Valliant makes in his book as well and it does seem plausible. Again, I bemoan the fact that we now do have first-hand knowledge of what Miss Rand was thinking at the time leading up to the breakup since we can read her private journal notes but we have no equivalent for the time of the "get together," as it were. Therefore we have to rely on speculations if we want to understand this at all (unless one assumes that this requires no special understanding).Since Shoshanna Knapp is working on a more detailed biography of Ayn Rand's life up to the publication of Atlas Shrugged, perhaps we'll learn more when this new biography is published.
  9. Stephen's Health

    Hi Betsy, I was very saddened and surprised to hear of your husbands condition via your cybernet announcement. Still, reading your updates I am happy to see that he appears to be doing better. I wish Stephen a speedy recovery. Sincerely, Gideon Reich
  10. What is the DIM Hypothesis?

    I'm presently listening to these lectures for a second time and I just finished lecture 8 recently. He does discuss what he calls the "ecology movement" in lecture 8 which covers half of politics and law. Lecture 8 covers the D part of those two subjects (mostly), the M part is covered in lecture 9. Ecology is categorized as a D2. He also mentions something about the Islamic terrorists in the q&a of lecture 8. I think he had more to say on religion (both Islam and others) in lecture 9 since that falls under M. I don't remember him addressing multiculturalism directly so far.
  11. The Aristotle Adventure

    A very readable, fascinating book. Highly recommended.
  12. Gary Hull founding a college?

    If one is to believe this rather hostile article (hat-tip Randex) then Gary Hull is attempting to form a new liberal arts college: It is somewhat frustrating to find out about this from what is clearly an enemy of the proposal but does anyone know more about it? I've been wondering for some time when a critical mass of Objectivist intellectuals would be available to found such a college. Perhaps the author of the rant is mistaken and the Gary Hull mentioned in the article just happens to have the same name and is not in fact the director of VEM at Duke.
  13. Thank you very much! I did enjoy my day, in fact the entire weekend. On Saturday the family and I went to Disneyland courtesy of my employer (it was for the entire company) and Sunday we hung out with friends and family. Also, thanks for the kind comments on my blog and sorry I haven't had much time to write more lately.
  14. Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie in Atlas Shrugged movie?

    There's now a link on Bidinotto's site (hat-tip D. Eastbrook, who posted the link on the comments to The Primacy of Awesome blog) that details the production plans for the Atlas Shrugged movie. The good news is that a three part movie is planned and if you read near the end, the Estate of Ayn Rand does have some small input into the early drafts of the scripts. The bad news is that Kelley's involvement is deep enough ("has worked closely with Hart to insure the screenplay's philosophical fidelity to the novel"...sigh!java script:emoticon('', 'smid_9') ) that he will be listed a co-producer. Like Mr. Eastbrook I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I'm hoping against hope that they do not destroy the integrity of the novel. On the other hand Kelley's involvement almost guarantees some issues. According to the article, even Kelley gives the present script an 8 out of 10. Nevertheless, if the movie is a success it should encourage even more people to read the book and it will give an opportunity for increased attention and debate on the ideas involved, even if there might be some misleading things in the movie.
  15. Read this book back in high school. I loved it back then and it still fascinates me.
  16. Gary Hull founding a college?

    Interesting. I'm looking forward to finding out more at the appropriate time.
  17. Bush's Speech

    I thought there were some things to like about the President's proposal. Certainly it's a long way from ideal (which would be elimination of immigration quotas) but it is clearly superior to what we have now. Presently people risk life and limb to cross the border and work in this country. If the President's plan is passed many of these people will be able to work in this country legally. I think this is a good thing.
  18. Hi Stephen, I came across this fascinating story in New Scientist. Here's an excerpt: So they don't have any proof? Any comments?
  19. The Best Chocolates in the world

    Scharffen Berger -- perhaps one of the only good things to have come out of Berkeley. I'll match this American brand to any European fine chocolate. Try their 80% bars!
  20. House

    I would like to recommend the show House. It comes on every Tuesday at 9pm (8pm Central) on Fox. My wife and I have seen all episodes this season and have enjoyed every one. Here's a description from show's web stie: The one thing I would quibble with in the above description is the use of the word "instincts." Dr. House's complete commitment to the medical facts of each case and his extraordinary rationality are very clearly presented and his skills, far from being instinctual come from his thinking and his experience. I would also like to mention that Hugh Laurie, a British actor who has previously done numerous comedic parts, does an excellent job as the American doctor (with a convincing American accent).
  21. Betsy, me, and THE FORUM

    Sorry to hear about your accident... Take care and get well soon Betsy!
  22. Prison Break (2005)

    I watch it too and I have seen it from the first episode. As Jennifer points out, the main selling point is the Michael Scofield character who is highly intelligent, creative and purposeful in his efforts to rescue his brother. It is quite enjoyable to watch.
  23. Beware the terrible DHMO!

    Hmph! Until now I hadn't realized that the city in which I presently reside was infamous.
  24. Mastering a foreign language

    Well, my experience beyond lesson 6 was limited to lessons 7 and 8. The quick and simple series only goes up to eight. But I think you're right, I remember learning more words and phrases in 7 and 8 than in the earlier lesson which went nice and slow. Interestingly, all the languages I learned went through the identical sequence of content beginning with greetings and ending with the same basic questions. The narrator is also the same.