Leonid

Is Dagny a Nietzschian?

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" She ( Dagny) thinks that she can run it (TT) with incompetents and parasites, either by training them or merely by treating them as robots...while she, in effect, is the spark of initiative...That cannot be done".

( Journals of Ayn Rand, pg 426).

This Ayn Rand's characterization of Dagny presents her as a sort of Ubermench, dominating and manipulating others. Ayn Rand calls such an approach "crucial error" (Ibid). Do you think that Ayn Rand created Nietzsche's type character?

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" She ( Dagny) thinks that she can run it (TT) with incompetents and parasites, either by training them or merely by treating them as robots...while she, in effect, is the spark of initiative...That cannot be done".

( Journals of Ayn Rand, pg 426).

This Ayn Rand's characterization of Dagny presents her as a sort of Ubermench, dominating and manipulating others.

This is a serious misreading and mis-characterization of what Ayn Rand is presenting here. Dagny wants and seeks competent and talented people, but this passage from the Journals describes the choices she faced and made when she couldn't find them. Dagny concludes that the incompetent people she finds are not hopeless but can learn to be better "by training them" and, if not, can be of value because they are, at least, capable of doing what needs to be done under her direction ("as robots"). An employer providing training and direction for employees who voluntarily choose to work for him in exchange for a paycheck is hardly an "Ubermench, dominating and manipulating others." Why would you think otherwise?

Ayn Rand calls such an approach "crucial error" (Ibid).

It is, because all the training and guidance in the world will not make a person productive if he refuses to think.

Do you think that Ayn Rand created Nietzsche's type character?

Hell no! Whatever made you think that she did?

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" She ( Dagny) thinks that she can run it (TT) with incompetents and parasites, either by training them or merely by treating them as robots...while she, in effect, is the spark of initiative...That cannot be done".

( Journals of Ayn Rand, pg 426).

This Ayn Rand's characterization of Dagny presents her as a sort of Ubermench, dominating and manipulating others.

This is a serious misreading and mis-characterization of what Ayn Rand is presenting here. Dagny wants and seeks competent and talented people, but this passage from the Journals describes the choices she faced and made when she couldn't find them. Dagny concludes that the incompetent people she finds are not hopeless but can learn to be better "by training them" and, if not, can be of value because they are, at least, capable of doing what needs to be done under her direction ("as robots"). An employer providing training and direction for employees who voluntarily choose to work for him in exchange for a paycheck is hardly an "Ubermench, dominating and manipulating others." Why would you think otherwise?

Ayn Rand calls such an approach "crucial error" (Ibid).

It is, because all the training and guidance in the world will not make a person productive if he refuses to think.

Do you think that Ayn Rand created Nietzsche's type character?

Hell no! Whatever made you think that she did?

Because, as Ayn Rand said Dagny " is the spark of initiative , the bearer of responsibility for a whole collective" Nietzsche's idea of Ubermench is a sea in which all other men. "polluted streams" could be cleansed. Contrary to superman, however "you cannot force the ability of others" (Ibid 427)

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Do you think that Ayn Rand created Nietzsche's type character?

Hell no! Whatever made you think that she did?

Because, as Ayn Rand said Dagny " is the spark of initiative , the bearer of responsibility for a whole collective" Nietzsche's idea of Ubermench is a sea in which all other men. "polluted streams" could be cleansed. Contrary to superman, however "you cannot force the ability of others" (Ibid 427)

That seems like quite a stretch to me. Could you be focusing on a few characteristics like Dagny's ability, initiative, and sense of responsibility and ignoring the essential characteristic of the Nietzschean superman -- that he sacrifices others to himself -- which Dagny never does?

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Do you think that Ayn Rand created Nietzsche's type character?

Hell no! Whatever made you think that she did?

Because, as Ayn Rand said Dagny " is the spark of initiative , the bearer of responsibility for a whole collective" Nietzsche's idea of Ubermench is a sea in which all other men. "polluted streams" could be cleansed. Contrary to superman, however "you cannot force the ability of others" (Ibid 427)

That seems like quite a stretch to me. Could you be focusing on a few characteristics like Dagny's ability, initiative, and sense of responsibility and ignoring the essential characteristic of the Nietzschean superman -- that he sacrifices others to himself -- which Dagny never does?

Rand mentioned that Dagny treated others, incompetents and parasites as robots. Compare it with Nietzsche's characterization of ubermench:

""The stronger becomes master of the weaker, in so far as the latter cannot assert its degree of independence — here there is no mercy, no forbearance, even less a respect for "laws."

Sec. 630 (Notebook W I 4. June - July 1885, KGW VII, 3.283, KSA 11.559)

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Rand mentioned that Dagny treated others, incompetents and parasites as robots.

She did, but she didn't force them or sacrifice them. She hired them and paid them and she had their consent to the arrangement.

Compare it with Nietzsche's characterization of ubermench:

""The stronger becomes master of the weaker, in so far as the latter cannot assert its degree of independence — here there is no mercy, no forbearance, even less a respect for "laws."

Sec. 630 (Notebook W I 4. June - July 1885, KGW VII, 3.283, KSA 11.559)

That hardly described Dagny toward the incompetent people who worked for her. She was their employer, not their "master."

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"That hardly described Dagny toward the incompetent people who worked for her. She was their employer, not their "master."

What, then is the meaning of the notion " She treated them as robots" ? That only could be master-slave relationship. Slaves not necessary have to be dominated by force., not according to Nietzsche anyway. He said :

"" I have found strength where one does not look for it: in simple, mild, and pleasant people, without the least desire to rule—and, conversely, the desire to rule has often appeared to me a sign of inward weakness: they fear their own slave soul and shroud it in a royal cloak (in the end, they still become the slaves of their followers, their fame, etc.) The powerful natures dominate, it is a necessity, they need not lift one finger. Even if, during their lifetime, they bury themselves in a garden house!"

Nachlass, Fall 1880 6 [206]

So Dagny dominated the weak, the incompetent, the parasite- by sheer " spark of initiative, by becoming " the bearer of responsibility for the whole collective" which in fact means sacrifice of oneself to others. This, as Ayn Rand observed, where she fails. And this, I think, where Ayn Rand finally separated from Nietzsche.

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"That hardly described Dagny toward the incompetent people who worked for her. She was their employer, not their "master."

What, then is the meaning of the notion " She treated them as robots" ?

It means that, like robots, she could not expect them to take initiative and could only count on them to do what they were told to do. It does not mean that she wanted to rule them or be their master. Quite the contrary. Throughout the book, Dagny is desperately seeking to find and hire people who did think and take responsibility.

That only could be master-slave relationship.

That doesn't follow at all. In fact, that cannot be the "only" explanation, since I just gave you a different one.

Dagny was their employer, not their slave master, because even the most incompetent worker, unlike a slave, could leave if he didn't like it.

So Dagny dominated the weak, the incompetent, the parasite- by sheer "spark of initiative, by becoming " the bearer of responsibility for the whole collective" ...

Why do you call this "domination?" Ayn Rand certainly didn't nor do I. Or do you think that every employer "dominates" and is the "master" of his employees?

At this point, I can only wonder why you seem to be going to such great lengths to make the case that Ayn Rand meant for Dagny to be some kind of Nietzschean superman. What difference does it make to you?

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"At this point, I can only wonder why you seem to be going to such great lengths to make the case that Ayn Rand meant for Dagny to be some kind of Nietzschean superman. What difference does it make to you?"

Domination by force also wasn't Nietzsche's idea of relationship between strong and weak as it follows from the quote above. My point is that by ascribing some Nietzschean characteristic to Dagny and by calling this "crucial error" Ayn Rand meant that she finally separated from Nietzsche, her admiration of Nietzsche's sense of life notwithstanding.

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"At this point, I can only wonder why you seem to be going to such great lengths to make the case that Ayn Rand meant for Dagny to be some kind of Nietzschean superman. What difference does it make to you?"

Domination by force also wasn't Nietzsche's idea of relationship between strong and weak as it follows from the quote above. My point is that by ascribing some Nietzschean characteristic to Dagny and by calling this "crucial error" Ayn Rand meant that she finally separated from Nietzsche, her admiration of Nietzsche's sense of life notwithstanding.

That is an unwarranted speculation as to Ayn Rand's intention. First, Dagny was always seeking employees and business associates who did exhibit ability, initiative, and responsibility which is hardly "Nietzschean." When Ayn Rand wrote about Dagny treating employees as "robots," it referred to what Dagny reluctantly chose to do when she could not find the kind of employees she really wanted.

Ayn Rand meant that she finally separated from Nietzsche, her admiration of Nietzsche's sense of life notwithstanding.

The fact is that Ayn Rand "finally separated from Nietzsche" long before she wrote Atlas Shrugged or even The Fountainhead for that matter. It happened when she was in college in Russia.

In her readings in philosophy, she discovered Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra. Because Nietzsche revered the heroic in man, because he defended individualism and despised altruism, she thought that she had found a spiritual ally. But she was made uneasy by the implication that a great man would seek power, not over nature, but over other men; to rule, she thought, was an unworthy occupation for a hero; a hero would not degrade himself by spending his life enslaving others.

As she read further in Nietzsche's writings, her hope gradually changed to disappointment. And when she discovered, in The Birth of Tragedy, an open denunciation of reason, she knew that any value she might find in his works could only be partial and selective; she saw that in their basic premises, Nietzsche and she were philosophical opposites.

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"At this point, I can only wonder why you seem to be going to such great lengths to make the case that Ayn Rand meant for Dagny to be some kind of Nietzschean superman. What difference does it make to you?"

Domination by force also wasn't Nietzsche's idea of relationship between strong and weak as it follows from the quote above. My point is that by ascribing some Nietzschean characteristic to Dagny and by calling this "crucial error" Ayn Rand meant that she finally separated from Nietzsche, her admiration of Nietzsche's sense of life notwithstanding.

That is an unwarranted speculation as to Ayn Rand's intention. First, Dagny was always seeking employees and business associates who did exhibit ability, initiative, and responsibility which is hardly "Nietzschean." When Ayn Rand wrote about Dagny treating employees as "robots," it referred to what Dagny reluctantly chose to do when she could not find the kind of employees she really wanted.

Ayn Rand meant that she finally separated from Nietzsche, her admiration of Nietzsche's sense of life notwithstanding.

The fact is that Ayn Rand "finally separated from Nietzsche" long before she wrote Atlas Shrugged or even The Fountainhead for that matter. It happened when she was in college in Russia.

In her readings in philosophy, she discovered Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra. Because Nietzsche revered the heroic in man, because he defended individualism and despised altruism, she thought that she had found a spiritual ally. But she was made uneasy by the implication that a great man would seek power, not over nature, but over other men; to rule, she thought, was an unworthy occupation for a hero; a hero would not degrade himself by spending his life enslaving others.

As she read further in Nietzsche's writings, her hope gradually changed to disappointment. And when she discovered, in The Birth of Tragedy, an open denunciation of reason, she knew that any value she might find in his works could only be partial and selective; she saw that in their basic premises, Nietzsche and she were philosophical opposites.

But Nietzsche's overman also doesn't seek domination by force. "...the desire to rule has often appeared to me a sign of inward weakness: they fear their own slave soul and shroud it in a royal cloak (in the end, they still become the slaves of their followers, their fame, etc."-in other words second-handers. Overman is simply a natural born leader, he dominates without to move a finger. In regard to reason Nietzsche held mixed premises. He didn't deny reason completely but wanted to support it by an instinct, that is-will to power which he called life itself. He attributed such a will not only to man but to all living beings. Ayn Rand called it self-generated action to support, to promote and to better life. Nietzsche however failed to recognize that in man it is an action of reason. He observed that some times man uses reason in order to rationalize anti-life ideas and actions and related it to the fact that reason is evolutionary a new tool and therefore weak. His main fallacy was creation of a dichotomy between pro-life action which he called instinct and reason.

Ayn Rand used a citation from Nietzsche as an epithet for " The Fountainhead" - The noble soul has reverence for itself

She removed this citation from the later editions, but in the introduction to the 25th anniversary edition she wrote:

"This view of man has rarely been expressed in human history. Today, it is virtually non-existent. Yet this is the view with which...the best of mankind's youth start out in life"

Ayn Rand separated from Nietzsche philosophically but still an admirer of his sense of life.

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"At this point, I can only wonder why you seem to be going to such great lengths to make the case that Ayn Rand meant for Dagny to be some kind of Nietzschean superman. What difference does it make to you?"

Domination by force also wasn't Nietzsche's idea of relationship between strong and weak as it follows from the quote above. My point is that by ascribing some Nietzschean characteristic to Dagny and by calling this "crucial error" Ayn Rand meant that she finally separated from Nietzsche, her admiration of Nietzsche's sense of life notwithstanding.

That is an unwarranted speculation as to Ayn Rand's intention. First, Dagny was always seeking employees and business associates who did exhibit ability, initiative, and responsibility which is hardly "Nietzschean." When Ayn Rand wrote about Dagny treating employees as "robots," it referred to what Dagny reluctantly chose to do when she could not find the kind of employees she really wanted.

----------------

It goes even deeper than that. Dagny was not only unable to find men of ability, the men who were employed were not acting like thinking beings. They did things by memorization and by rote. If something broke, they could not fix it. If a schedule was missed, the could not rearrange things to get the train back on schedule. Dagny felt like she was treating them like robots because that is how they behaved: with no connection between their thinking and their jobs.

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...Dagny was not only unable to find men of ability, the men who were employed were not acting like thinking beings. They did things by memorization and by rote. If something broke, they could not fix it. If a schedule was missed, the could not rearrange things to get the train back on schedule. Dagny felt like she was treating them like robots because that is how they behaved: with no connection between their thinking and their jobs.
Exactly! It was an identification, not a dismissal; not an "uebermensch" looking for lesser men to rule, but a woman constantly looking for men of ability that she could respect, as she did not only Hank and Francisco and John Galt and Hugh Akston and Ellis Wyatt, but also men like the conductor of the John Galt Line's native voyage, the various good men she went out of her way to do business with, even a tramp on a stalled train.

You are using this one "robot" phrase of hers out of context. I believe this is an associational error. I don't agree there is any attempt by Rand to present Dagny or Dagny's error as one of the "Man and Superman" type. She goes to great pains to present Dagny as a worshipper of great ability and its exercise, in herself and those she chooses to associate with. Even Eddie she admires and treats with respect, although he is not as capable as she. Dagny, Rand makes very clear, is, by the middle of the book, desperate for the sight of a man of ability, something she can admire. She is driven not to dominate but to search for competent, first-handed men. That is not Nietzche. Rand's prototypical Nietzchean character was Gail Wynand, in The Fountainhead. She made it very clear in that earlier masterpiece that she had long made that distinction, the flaw in Nietzsche's philosophy, and Gail Wynand was destroyed by his belief that he could become powerful by his mastery over the "little people."

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But Nietzsche's overman also doesn't seek domination by force. "...the desire to rule has often appeared to me a sign of inward weakness: they fear their own slave soul and shroud it in a royal cloak (in the end, they still become the slaves of their followers, their fame, etc."-in other words second-handers. Overman is simply a natural born leader, he dominates without to move a finger.

Acquiring leadership because making rational, productive, *practical* choices (as in the case of Dagny) puts one in a position to, does not make one a "natural born" leader (which wrongly implies some sort of innate ability to lead), much less one that leads without moving a finger.

In regard to reason Nietzsche held mixed premises. He didn't deny reason completely but wanted to support it by an instinct, that is-will to power which he called life itself. He attributed such a will not only to man but to all living beings. Ayn Rand called it self-generated action to support, to promote and to better life. Nietzsche however failed to recognize that in man it is an action of reason. He observed that some times man uses reason in order to rationalize anti-life ideas and actions and related it to the fact that reason is evolutionary a new tool and therefore weak.

I'm just confirming here - is "the fact that reason is evolutionary a new tool and therefore weak" what you think was Nietzsche's position and is something you don't agree with?

Ayn Rand used a citation from Nietzsche as an epithet for " The Fountainhead" - The noble soul has reverence for itself

She removed this citation from the later editions, but in the introduction to the 25th anniversary edition she wrote:

"This view of man has rarely been expressed in human history. Today, it is virtually non-existent. Yet this is the view with which...the best of mankind's youth start out in life"

Ayn Rand separated from Nietzsche philosophically but still an admirer of his sense of life.

I fail to see how this matters with regard to your initial question. If you say Ayn Rand separated from Nietzsche philosophically, then why suggest Dagny was a Nietzschian character? Similar senses-of-life does is not what the term "Nietzschian" means in the sense that you're using it - it means similar philosophical premises, which is not true at all in Dagny's case, as the other posters have explained in more detail.

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"I'm just confirming here - is "the fact that reason is evolutionary a new tool and therefore weak" what you think was Nietzsche's position and is something you don't agree with?"

Nietzsche's main fallacy was a dichotomy between reason and something which he called an instinct, the will to power ( der Wille zum Macht) which is also could be translated as a potency. He considered this power as a main driving force of all living beings. He failed to realized that on the conceptual level of man's self-awareness such a power could be expressed only as reason and thought that reason is not a substitute for instinct but an additional and weak tool. He observed that the faculty of free will allows man to take actions which are anti-life and therefore the reason should be supported by unerring instinct. He called it "restored reason"

That of course was his main mistake.

" Dagny was not only unable to find men of ability, the men who were employed were not acting like thinking beings."-and yet she wanted to run a transcontinental railroad with these people. Here is the question: why did Dagny refuse to join the strike even when the continuating work was obviously useless, even when Rearden joined the strike and the people of much less prominence and ability quit and disappeared?

Ayn Rand's answer is overconfidence, the will to take the responsibility of the whole team. But in what Dagny was so confident? Obviously she couldn't believe that she can run TT single-handed. However she apparently believed that she can make anybody rational and productive by the sheer will of her power, or , as Ayn Rand put it, by the spark of initiative. This is the Nietzschean trait in Dagny's character. Eventually she ended up by turning "weak" people, including John Galt into the living lanterns which were suppose to run a modern railroad. This is the most impressive negation of the Nieztschean idea that instinct, sheer physical force can substitute reason ( a computer) and that a person with strong will can achieve anything just by commanding everybody else, even without dominating them by force. By Dagny's failure to do that Ayn Rand demonstrated the failure of Nietzsche's philosophy. This is the reason why I said that Ayn Rand finally negated Nietzsche in Atlas Shrugged.

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"If you say Ayn Rand separated from Nietzsche philosophically, then why suggest Dagny was a Nietzschian character?"

Because Ayn Rand wanted to demonstrate the profound fallacy of Nietzsche's philosophy. As I said before, the attempt to substitute a computer by living lanterns is the most impressive demonstration.

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"If you say Ayn Rand separated from Nietzsche philosophically, then why suggest Dagny was a Nietzschian character?"

Because Ayn Rand wanted to demonstrate the profound fallacy of Nietzsche's philosophy. As I said before, the attempt to substitute a computer by living lanterns is the most impressive demonstration.

It would be presumptuous of any of us to attribute motives to Ayn Rand in the absence of her own statements about her motives. With regard to writing Atlas Shrugged, she did state that her goal was do demonstrate the role of the mind in human existence and to present her own ethical code. To the degree that this happens to conflict with Nietzsche's philosophy, it shows he was wrong, but I don't see any evidence, from what Ayn Rand said or wrote that she "wanted to demonstrate the profound fallacy of Nietzsche's philosophy."

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"I don't see any evidence, from what Ayn Rand said or wrote that she "wanted to demonstrate the profound fallacy of Nietzsche's philosophy."

Ayn Rand according to her own admission was predominantly a fiction writer. That's true she never said or wrote explicitly "that she "wanted to demonstrate the profound fallacy of Nietzsche's philosophy." but she never explicitly denied it. However she created a fictional situation which strongly implies that.

At least this is my understanding of the human lanterns episode as a reader of her fiction. If I'm wrong, I'd like to know why.

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That's true she never said or wrote explicitly "that she "wanted to demonstrate the profound fallacy of Nietzsche's philosophy." but she never explicitly denied it.

I've never explicitly denied that the moon is made of green cheese, but that is hardly evidence that I might believe it is. Lack of evidence against something is not evidence for it. Any assertion based on lack of evidence is arbitrary.

However she created a fictional situation which strongly implies that.

Not to me.

At least this is my understanding of the human lanterns episode as a reader of her fiction. If I'm wrong, I'd like to know why.

Your conclusion does not follow from the facts you have presented, especially since there is evidence to the contrary of Ayn Rand's actual stated intentions which I and others have presented here.

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"I've never explicitly denied that the moon is made of green cheese, but that is hardly evidence that I might believe it is. Lack of evidence against something is not evidence for it. Any assertion based on lack of evidence is arbitrary"

By the same token I could say that although Rand never explicitly confirmed the Nietzschian trait in Dagny character, it doesn't mean she didn't created it. And for evidence-let see what Rand herself said about Dagny:

" The question here is: In what specific way and for what excusable reason does she ( Dagny) refusw to accept the right philosophy?...her error-and the cause of her refusal to join the strike is over-optimism and over-confidence (particularly this last).

The overconfidence is in thinking that she can do more than an individual actually can; she think she can run a railroad ( or the world) single-handed, she can make people do what she wants or needs, by sheer force of her talent...The mistake? Reason is not automatic...It would be natural for Dagny always to make the mistake of believing others are better than they really are ( or will become better, or she will teach them to become better).

It is true that a creator can accomplish anything he wishes- if he functions according to the nature of man...if he doesn't place his wish primary within others...(that would be an immoral desire or attempt, contrary to the nature of creator). If he attempts that, he is out of creator's province and in that of collectivist and the second-hander."

Dagny attempted to use others as her primary means to achieve her ends-to run TT.

This is typical Nietzschian trait. The only logical consequence was a usage of men as human lanterns, as fits to Superman. In this highly symbolic episode Ayn Rand dramatized the philosophical principle which I quoted above.

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Dagny attempted to use others as her primary means to achieve her ends-to run TT.

People -- but only people who can and do think -- are the primary means of achieving any human value on any level of achievement which is something Ayn Rand appreciated and Nietzsche did not. In Atlas, Dagny desperately wanted thinking people who would take initiative and not people she could "use" in any Nietzschian sense.

This is typical Nietzschian trait. The only logical consequence was a usage of men as human lanterns, as fits to Superman. In this highly symbolic episode Ayn Rand dramatized the philosophical principle which I quoted above.

I think you are dead wrong about Ayn Rand's intentions and about Nietzsche's.

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"I've never explicitly denied that the moon is made of green cheese, but that is hardly evidence that I might believe it is. Lack of evidence against something is not evidence for it. Any assertion based on lack of evidence is arbitrary"

By the same token I could say that although Rand never explicitly confirmed the Nietzschian trait in Dagny character, it doesn't mean she didn't created it. And for evidence-let see what Rand herself said about Dagny:

" The question here is: In what specific way and for what excusable reason does she ( Dagny) refusw to accept the right philosophy?...her error-and the cause of her refusal to join the strike is over-optimism and over-confidence (particularly this last).

The overconfidence is in thinking that she can do more than an individual actually can; she think she can run a railroad ( or the world) single-handed, she can make people do what she wants or needs, by sheer force of her talent...The mistake? Reason is not automatic...It would be natural for Dagny always to make the mistake of believing others are better than they really are ( or will become better, or she will teach them to become better).

It is true that a creator can accomplish anything he wishes- if he functions according to the nature of man...if he doesn't place his wish primary within others...(that would be an immoral desire or attempt, contrary to the nature of creator). If he attempts that, he is out of creator's province and in that of collectivist and the second-hander."

Dagny attempted to use others as her primary means to achieve her ends-to run TT.

This is typical Nietzschian trait. The only logical consequence was a usage of men as human lanterns, as fits to Superman. In this highly symbolic episode Ayn Rand dramatized the philosophical principle which I quoted above.

Questions about your bold points.

Point one: Is teaching others to become better a Nietzschean trait?

Point two: Did Dagny place her wish primarily within others? Is that what she was attempting?

You're assertion that "Dagny attempted to use others as her primary means to achieve her ends-to run TT" is not demonstrated by your example. Rand's idea that placing one's primary "wish" within others is immoral is not what Dagny did.

Any business enterprise needs others to achieve its ends. And a good business person places his (or one of his) primary focus on getting the best employees and providing incentives for them to work and achieve the mission of the company. The example you cite does not follow or imply any Nietzschian traits. Dagny's error was in believing that the people she sought to do her job were actually able to achieve it following her direction. Her error was in thinking that unthinking beings could learn to think by absorbing her boundless energy. There is nothing Nietzschean about it. It is an error of knowledge about the nature of the individuals she was dealing with. This issue was the major point she had to grasp after leaving the valley: that other people did not value life the way she did.

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I would be curious to hear your, Leonard's, analysis of Dagny vs. Gail Wynand, who is Nietzschean in some respects. What is the primary difference between the two characters in terms of how they run their companies?

Also: Please learn how to use the quote tags. It would be nice to know who you're quoting in your posts. You have had almost 80 posts here, so I don't think this request is unreasonable.

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"You're assertion that "Dagny attempted to use others as her primary means to achieve her ends-to run TT" is not demonstrated by your example"

The whole citation is an explanation of Dagny's error by Ayn Rand-see JAR pg 419; 424-7.

Creator, as Ayn Rand mentioned " must not think that he can do anything whatever to, by or through others." Dagny, however "thinks she can run TT with incompetents and parasites" This is her crucial error and Nietzschian trait in her character-she wants to force the ability of others.

Now compare it with Nietzsche's Superman:

"Verily, a polluted stream is man. One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure. Lo, I teach you the Superman: he is that sea; in him can your great contempt be submerged...I could dispense with nothing when I created the superman. His seed still carries all your evil and falsehood, your lies and your ignorance. "

Dagny thinks she can cleanse polluted streams-incompetents and parasites by submerging them into the sea of her spark of initiative, her creativeness. As Superman, she takes the responsibility for the whole collective, even if this means to treat people as robots. This is typical Nietzschian trait. "What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just the same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame"

So Dagny treated men as robots and Nietzsche as apes-not such a big difference.

"

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You're assertion that "Dagny attempted to use others as her primary means to achieve her ends-to run TT" is not demonstrated by your example. Rand's idea that placing one's primary "wish" within others is immoral is not what Dagny did.

Any business enterprise needs others to achieve its ends. And a good business person places his (or one of his) primary focus on getting the best employees and providing incentives for them to work and achieve the mission of the company. The example you cite does not follow or imply any Nietzschian traits. Dagny's error was in believing that the people she sought to do her job were actually able to achieve it following her direction. Her error was in thinking that unthinking beings could learn to think by absorbing her boundless energy. There is nothing Nietzschean about it. It is an error of knowledge about the nature of the individuals she was dealing with. This issue was the major point she had to grasp after leaving the valley: that other people did not value life the way she did.

I agree with this entirely. Dagny's error was having too much benevolence. She believed, mistakenly, that everyone, even the worst people, were in some way like herself and really wanted what she wanted.

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