Re: Rand and the Reality of Self-Sacrifice

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Mon Aug 14 2000 - 09:14:01 MDT

On Sunday, August 13, 2000 7:08 AM James Daugherty
> Bloom's recent book _Global Brain_ has numerous
> examples of how the individual is programmed by the
> social organims for self-destruction in service of the
> group....
> Rand never accepted the naive individualistic premise
> that "everyone" works for their self-interest. On the contrary,
> she always argued for the reality of self-sacrifice, in her view, the
> primary factor in the success of tyranny.
> What confuses the issue is that any successful action,
> even a self-sacrificial one results in some measure pleasure
> even though vastly more substantial pains may also result
> either simultaneously or later.

If the "self" and "values" are objective, then it's quite easy to see how
their destruction can be real and not merely just a matter of arbitrarily
labeling things as such. One need not swallow all of Rand's philosophy or
even all of her ethics to see this is so. Anything which destroys one,
where one does so willingly is self-sacrifice, right?

Also, Kant, e.g., in his _Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals_ tries to
separate moral actions from pleasure. Granted, this might be hard to do in
practice, but his notion is that the good should be pursued regardless of
its consequences, especially regardless of pleasure and happiness. That few
people practice this so sternly is perhaps because this view of morality is
so antithetical to living life it can hardly be consistently practiced.
(Why? Well, if one consistently practices it, one will have little
emotional feedback, one will be miserable, and, ultimately, to sacrifice
one's self means to get rid of one's self, which means to be no more, which
means to stop being an actor, moral or otherwise.)


Daniel Ust

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