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Saturday, January 30, 2010



Great post. Thanks for your insights! Especially this:
"a brittle, defensive idealism that deals with the problem of human failing by denying the inescapability of the human condition. Identification with a powerfully superior group or adherence to some allegedly perfected ideology sets the believer free, restoring Eden, though it never really does restore Eden. This is the solution found in rabid religious, political and philosophical ideologies."

Most dramatically visible in our Congress and Oval Office these days (shield wall is up...)

Have never liked "Catcher in the Rye" or the devil take the hindmost perspective of Ayn Rand either. You expressed better than I could, what is so troubling about both heroes.


If one child believes that intellectual or moral perfection is attainable, while the other accepts contradictions, immorality, and neurotics as "normal", which one is really being cynical?

It's precisely because of views like yours which make young people want to give up on life.

If you see people today giving up on their ambitions, thinking of evil as an acceptable form of action, and seeking any form of escape from reality as they're only means of finding pleasure - look no further than the views expressed in this article, as to the reason why.

Linda Dann

As a former teacher of literature to psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents- (in the era when a month's stay was not considered excessive) I can tell you that Holden Caulfield 'works' for kids- It is the first 'serious' novel that speaks to their own coming apart and the idea that what is an assigned reading actually dares to articulate a bit of their own nihilism/need for external validation and confused and mixed longings- 'anything but being stuck here.' At least that's how I have interpreted the general embrace of this guy who is now dated to the point of being almost unrecognizable. I do not think that they all get the same thing from it- but it is 'of them' and they recognize that.

The Optimist


If one child believes that intellectual or moral perfection is attainable, while the other accepts contradictions, immorality, and neurotics as "normal", which one is really being cynical?

The one who believes that moral perfection is attainable. That one believes that the human condition is hopelessly unbearable, so that one lives in a fantasy.


@The Optimist

Your comment is actually quite ironic, as Rand's philosophy was geared specifically to identifying and attacking intellectual evasion. So why do you feel that she encouraged young people to adopt a fantasy like perspective?

Most people lie about their failures, rather than accept them or try to correct them.

You're stance is essentially, "Let's be honest here, human beings are incapable of honesty."

Who was John Galt? He was a character who felt no guilt for what he was... is this a dangerous message for young people? Hmm...

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