Stephen Speicher

OCON 2005 - A brief review

12 posts in this topic

San Diego is a lovely place for a conference -- wonderful weather, great food, nice shopping, etc. -- and the Omni Hotel, where the conference was hosted, was a very pleasant place to stay. But, not to belabor the point, since this was discussed in another thread, I still have to say that I do miss the closeness, the community atmosphere, of the older conferences at UCSD.

There were a lot of interesting lectures and courses, but for me the highlight shone on three in particular.

John Ridpath's lecture on "Man's Rights: Ayn Rand's Historic Contribution," was incredibly inspiring. Dr. Ridpath's passion for the subject, his clarity of thought and fascinating insights during this intellectual trek of philosophic thought through the 17th century and beyond, culminating with Ayn Rand, actually brought a tear to my eye.

Though I had to miss the final lecture, Greg Salmieri's course on "The Hierarchy of Knowledge" was a wonderful surprise. Salmieri focused on several notions of epistemological hierarchy and highlighted their form in several philosophers from ancient to modern times, with the payoff, of course, being the notion of hierarchy in Ayn Rand's Objectivism. Though I do not always agree with Greg Salmieri, I was actually thrilled by his presentation. So well-internalized was his knowledge that Salmieri only occasionally had need to look at his notes. I always admire those who really know their subject so well that their presentation seems more like a conversation than a lecture.

And, for those who have admired the direct and often flamboyant writing of Richard Salsman on THE FORUM, what a treat it is to listen to this orator extraordinaire. In his presentation, "Capitalism's Economist: The Life and Doctrines of Jean-Baptiste Say" Salsman brought Say to life and imbued him with such value that I was left wondering why this magnificent man has not been so hailed in Objectivist circles before. How has, in Salsman's adulation, "history's greatest champion of laissez-faire capitalism" gone so relatively unnoticed before? In any case, in addition to great entertainment, Salsman has certainly inspired me to learn more about Jean-Baptiste Say.

Two honorable mentions: one second handed and the other based on impressions. My wife Betsy just raved about Jason Rhein's course, "The Sublime Art: An Introduction to the Elements of Poetry." And, I had such a fascinating lunch conversation with Lee Pierson that I left dismayed at not having taken his course " 'Check Your Premises': A Practical Guide for the Active Mind," and would have traded for one of my other course had I known in advance. [Maybe we can persuade Lee to give us bits of it here on THE FORUM. Hint, hint.]

It was also delightful to have our lunch gathering and to meet in person a number of members of THE FORUM. What a great group of people!

Next OCON will be in Boston, early July in 2006. This will be a short conference -- just a week, and it is scheduled for the Seaport Hotel. And 2007 OCON will be in Telluride, CO, honoring the 50th anniversary of the publication of Atlas Shrugged. A July 4th celebration will be held in Ouray, a beautiful little city that Ayn Rand fell in love with, and the place on which she modeled Galt's Gulch.

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San Diego is a lovely place for a conference -- wonderful weather, great food, nice shopping, etc. -- and the Omni Hotel, where the conference was hosted, was a very pleasant place to stay. But, not to belabor the point, since this was discussed in another thread, I still have to say that I do miss the closeness, the community atmosphere, of the older conferences at UCSD.

You have me curious-may I have a link to that thread?

There were a lot of interesting lectures and courses, but for me the highlight shone on three in particular. 

 

John Ridpath's lecture on "Man's Rights: Ayn Rand's Historic Contribution," was incredibly inspiring. Dr. Ridpath's passion for the subject, his clarity of thought and fascinating insights during this intellectual trek of philosophic thought through the 17th century and beyond, culminating with Ayn Rand, actually brought a tear to my eye. 

 

Though I had to miss the final lecture, Greg Salmieri's course on "The Hierarchy of Knowledge" was a wonderful surprise. Salmieri focused on several notions of epistemological hierarchy and highlighted their form in several philosophers from ancient to modern times, with the payoff, of course, being the notion of hierarchy in Ayn Rand's Objectivism. Though I do not always agree with Greg Salmieri, I was actually thrilled by his presentation. So well-internalized was his knowledge that Salmieri only occasionally had need to look at his notes. I always admire those who really know their subject so well that their presentation seems more like a conversation than a lecture. 

 

And, for those who have admired the direct and often flamboyant writing of Richard Salsman on THE FORUM, what a treat it is to listen to this orator extraordinaire. In his presentation, "Capitalism's Economist: The Life and Doctrines of Jean-Baptiste Say" Salsman brought Say to life and imbued him with such value that I was left wondering why this magnificent man has not been so hailed in Objectivist circles before.  How has, in Salsman's adulation, "history's greatest champion of laissez-faire capitalism" gone so relatively unnoticed before? In any case, in addition to great entertainment, Salsman has certainly inspired me to learn more about Jean-Baptiste Say. 

 

Two honorable mentions: one second handed and the other based on impressions. My wife Betsy just raved about Jason Rhein's course, "The Sublime Art: An Introduction to the Elements of Poetry." And, I had such a fascinating lunch conversation with Lee Pierson that I left dismayed at not having taken his course " 'Check Your Premises': A Practical Guide for the Active Mind," and would have traded for one of my other course had I known in advance. [Maybe we can persuade Lee to give us bits of it here on THE FORUM. Hint, hint.] 

 

It was also delightful to have our lunch gathering and to meet in person a number of  members of THE FORUM. What a great group of people! 

 

Next OCON will be in Boston, early July in 2006. This will be a short conference -- just a week, and it is scheduled for the Seaport Hotel. And 2007 OCON will be in Telluride, CO, honoring the 50th anniversary of the publication of Atlas Shrugged. A July 4th celebration will be held in Ouray, a beautiful little city that Ayn Rand fell in love with, and the place on which she modeled Galt's Gulch.

Thank you Stephen! I loved reading this...so much so that you have me almost firmly convinced that I need to go next year. I'm glad that you had a great time-you deserve it :D.

What social activities (if any?) were at the conference? I am referring to things such as the hike that Andrew Bernstein and the NYHS takes, etc.

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You have me curious-may I have a link to that thread?

It was just a few posts in, of all places, a thread on special relativity. Phil Oliver asked me about OCON, and I pined for the older venue. Phil and Jay echoed the same feeling. You can read those few posts starting here .

Thank you Stephen!  I loved reading this...so much so that you have me almost firmly convinced that I need to go next year.  I'm glad that you had a great time-you deserve it :D.

Thanks. There were a lot of happy-looking people there.

What social activities (if any?) were at the conference?  I am referring to things such as the hike that Andrew Bernstein and the NYHS takes, etc.

Well, for physical stuff around 5:30am every morning I was on the treadmill in the workout center, and there was at least one cute looking woman around. :D Even a cute looking guy. :D

But, seriously, there were several events like a dinner aboard the USS Midway, opening and closing banquets, and dance classes. Smaller groups of people went off doing things on their own.

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Stephen, was UCSD more hospitable because there were fewer people, so easier to establish bonds of community? Or was the location such that even the current OCON with its attendance rate would do as well there as before? Also, could you please estimate the numbers in attendance in UCSD days, as opposed to now?

I am very interested in answers to these questions, because a closely knit community of Objectivists is important to me, for obvious reasons. If it's becoming cosmopolitan and detached, however, then ... that's something for me to know about.

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Stephen, was UCSD more hospitable because there were fewer people, so easier to establish bonds of community? Or was the location such that even the current OCON with its attendance rate would do as well there as before? Also, could you please estimate the numbers in attendance in UCSD days, as opposed to now?

In general the conference attendance has remained fairly much the same over the years, probably varying around the three-hundred mark. The "community" atmosphere I (and others) have referred to is more an issue of proximity in living and accommodations that make congregating appealing. Sharing a large hotel lobby with other groups, with other people constantly coming and going, is not the same as sitting around an outdoor square by your apartment that is exclusively for us at the conference.

At UCSD we stayed in student apartments with several units for each building. The buildings were all nearby with common connecting pathways. People were not lost within a hotel complex; the kids were out playing with each other and you passed by others all the time. People sat around outside of where they lived. All in all the atmosphere was more conducive to being with and interacting with people. Even so with the dining. The cafeteria was exclusively for the conference and conversations in large or small groups went on for each meal. Like I said, it was much more a sense of a community than being more isolated in a large hotel.

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[...] Even a cute looking guy.  :D. [...]

Are you referring to yourself? :D

I know there is always at least one good looking person—me—wherever I go. :D

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In any case, in addition to great entertainment, Salsman has certainly inspired me to learn more about Jean-Baptiste Say.

I've recently taken Salsmans advise, and begun reading Jean-Baptiste Say. My only remark is that I wonder why I haven't read his work before.

Since I unfortunately couldn't participate in the conference, I'm wondering if any on the forum have knowledge on approximately how long it will take before the lectures will be for sale on tape.

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Since I unfortunately couldn't participate in the conference, I'm wondering if any on the forum have knowledge on approximately how long it will take before the lectures will be for sale on tape.

Perhaps someone from ARI can explain how it works, but I know that in the past we pre-ordered CDs at the conference and some did not arrive for many months.

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I've recently taken Salsmans advise, and begun reading Jean-Baptiste Say. My only remark is that I wonder why I haven't read his work before.

I bought and read Jean-Baptiste Say's "A Treatise On Political Economy" a couple of years ago. At this point I can say without a doubt that it is the best book I have ever read on economics. Totally thorough in so many areas, that all I can add is buy it and read what this man has written.

Personally his writing helped me to enhance my own business which was not his intention with this book. His writing helped me, by allowing me to see that to be a business owner who is productive and profitable I have to get my customers to see the "utility" of Progressive Exercise. So I stopped selling Progressive Exercise and started selling clients their values. When I got these new clients to see that it was their values that they would be obtaining through Progressive Exercise, my business really started to grow. Now over two years later I close the deal by pointing out that the client can achieve what is important or valuable to them. When my clients come in and say "motivate me Ray", I just quote what it is that they stated they value. They can then begin their workout with all the motivation they desire.

I hope that whoever reads this book can gain from and enjoy it as much as I have. Good reading!

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As an addendum to my brief review of OCON 2005, I should note that I only attended the second week so I have not included any of the earlier lecturers. Also, especially since I did not get a chance to thank her personally, I was delighted, and, at times, mesmerized, by Dina Schein's lecture "Ayn Rand's Home Atmosphere: Her Family in Russia." Though not quite a philosophical analysis on the level of the other lectures mentioned, Schein's insights into Miss Rand's family members -- their character and their values -- was brilliantly researched and joyfully presented. A real treat.

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San Diego is a lovely place for a conference -- wonderful weather, great food, nice shopping, etc. -- and the Omni Hotel, where the conference was hosted, was a very pleasant place to stay. But, not to belabor the point, since this was discussed in another thread, I still have to say that I do miss the closeness, the community atmosphere, of the older conferences at UCSD.

There were a lot of interesting lectures and courses, but for me the highlight shone on three in particular. 

John Ridpath's lecture on "Man's Rights: Ayn Rand's Historic Contribution," was incredibly inspiring. Dr. Ridpath's passion for the subject, his clarity of thought and fascinating insights during this intellectual trek of philosophic thought through the 17th century and beyond, culminating with Ayn Rand, actually brought a tear to my eye. 

Though I had to miss the final lecture, Greg Salmieri's course on "The Hierarchy of Knowledge" was a wonderful surprise. Salmieri focused on several notions of epistemological hierarchy and highlighted their form in several philosophers from ancient to modern times, with the payoff, of course, being the notion of hierarchy in Ayn Rand's Objectivism. Though I do not always agree with Greg Salmieri, I was actually thrilled by his presentation. So well-internalized was his knowledge that Salmieri only occasionally had need to look at his notes. I always admire those who really know their subject so well that their presentation seems more like a conversation than a lecture. 

And, for those who have admired the direct and often flamboyant writing of Richard Salsman on THE FORUM, what a treat it is to listen to this orator extraordinaire. In his presentation, "Capitalism's Economist: The Life and Doctrines of Jean-Baptiste Say" Salsman brought Say to life and imbued him with such value that I was left wondering why this magnificent man has not been so hailed in Objectivist circles before.  How has, in Salsman's adulation, "history's greatest champion of laissez-faire capitalism" gone so relatively unnoticed before? In any case, in addition to great entertainment, Salsman has certainly inspired me to learn more about Jean-Baptiste Say.

Two honorable mentions: one second handed and the other based on impressions. My wife Betsy just raved about Jason Rhein's course, "The Sublime Art: An Introduction to the Elements of Poetry." And, I had such a fascinating lunch conversation with Lee Pierson that I left dismayed at not having taken his course " 'Check Your Premises': A Practical Guide for the Active Mind," and would have traded for one of my other course had I known in advance. [Maybe we can persuade Lee to give us bits of it here on THE FORUM. Hint, hint.]

It was also delightful to have our lunch gathering and to meet in person a number of  members of THE FORUM. What a great group of people!

Next OCON will be in Boston, early July in 2006. This will be a short conference -- just a week, and it is scheduled for the Seaport Hotel. And 2007 OCON will be in Telluride, CO, honoring the 50th anniversary of the publication of Atlas Shrugged. A July 4th celebration will be held in Ouray, a beautiful little city that Ayn Rand fell in love with, and the place on which she modeled Galt's Gulch.

This sounds so awe-inspiring! I've only recently ever even met (in person) another Objectivist (I think the bible belt scares them away;)) and I think

the entire experience would have been great- (And will be in the future when I can attend!)! Hmm, Where is Ouray? Colorado?

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This sounds so awe-inspiring! I've only recently ever even met (in person) another Objectivist (I think the bible belt scares them away;)) and I think  the entire experience would have been great- (And will be in the future when I can attend!)!  Hmm, Where is Ouray? Colorado?

Yes. It is a beautiful little town in the mountains of Colorado. Here is a pointer to a pretty picture, along with some information. Last time I was there in my Jeep and they had a sign saying that Ouray was the Jeep capital of the world. My Jeep felt right at home!

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