Lessons of rearden final iv tomer ravid

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  • 1. LESSONS of REARDEN FALSE DICHOTOMIES LIE AT THE VERY CORE OF OUR TIME. Such dichotomies are a threat to human thought, for they restrict principles of a general nature to a limited scope—and presuppose certain ideas to be self-evident, often rejecting perfectly valid positions off-hand. However, the only legitimate purpose of a philosophy is not to make things more complex than they are; rather, it is to keep them as simple as possible. One such dichotomy, which has dominated the course of mankind’s history— not by evidence, but by default—is the so-called mind-body dichotomy. Man's mind and body, the dichotomy suggests, are independent or incompatible. The split between religion and pragmatism; between the moral and the practical; between values typically associated with the spirit, such as ideas, love, art and happiness, and ones associated with the body, such as money, sex, technology and health; between personal freedom and the Right's crusade against it, and economic freedom and the Left's crusade against it; between newspaper literature and ideological manifestos— all are the ultimate product of the mind-body dichotomy. The following is an attempt to challenge this viewpoint—and offer an alternative. For one, I shall present a logic-based theory concerning the relationship between mind and body. Thereafter I will turn to analyze its romantic dramatization in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, which I have chosen to do in Rearden's own words, through a short story depicting Galt's Gulch in the 21st century.
  • 2. –MIND: PHILOSOPHY– ALL KNOWLEDGE REQUIRES PROOF. For once, nonetheless, I would like to start by stating the conclusions right away. Everything to be discussed in this article— and, for that matter, a great deal of life—could be covered by a single Lesson: Man is an entity consisting of both spirit and matter—both mind and body (i). While distinct and complementary, they are mutually dependent: you can have either both or neither (ii). Both are equally real, and both are equally necessary for man's survival (iii). A rational philosophy shall, therefore, recognize the requirements of both properties as absolutes, and have its laws pertaining to the fundamental nature of man apply to both. Let me stress that I do not endorse the theological doctrine that man's mind and body are practically one, or that they interact in an ambiguous or mysterious fashion. The above is a statement of a fundamental truth, easily validated through observation. The denial of the Lesson is commonly referred to as the mind-body dichotomy—its study, the mind-body problem. I will use this terminology over the otherwise interchangeable variants of soul-body and spirit-body, for reasons of connotation. It is evident that man possesses a mind, generally characterized by a faculty of volition. Identical twins may differ dramatically in nature. Whether somebody raise their right or left hand cannot be determined based on any information about their body. Furthermore, modern science teaches us that the body is subject to the influence of the mind in deeper ways than formerly assumed (e.g., consider the close relation between medicine and psychology). And it is precisely in the light of intellectual, scientific and political developments that the Industrial Revolution took place, thereby doubling the life expectancy and ultimately promoting the physical existence of man.
  • 3. Likewise, it is evident that man possesses a body, generally characterized by biological determinism. An individual can get inspired by purely physical activities, such as taking a walk. Furthermore, the function of the brain has been shown to represent that of the consciousness. Such a relationship between the mind and the body is not a violation of the Law of Causality. The Law of Causality states that every event must yield specific outcomes—which is clearly satisfied by human action: every action yields certain predictable consequences one cannot evade. It does not imply the absence of first causes (such as the ability to choose whether to think or not to think), which would simply be false.1 Now that the reader is (hopefully) convinced that the Lesson is plausible, a sketch of a proof of its essentials from first principles and observed facts will be given. The existence of the mind is an axiom, presupposed in any action or. The existence of the body follows immediately from our daily experience (i). Since every cell of the body acts deterministically whereas the mind is voluntary, it is inevitable to distinguish between the two; no single entity can account for both (ii). Finally, reason is man's basic means of survival. On the other hand, observe that the man's existence has physical requirements, most trivially food. Therefore, both man's mind and body's are necessary for his survival (iii). Which completes the proof. ⎕ So much for the theoretical aspects of the Lesson. 1 Both causality and volition have an axiomatic status. The Law of Causality is simply the Law of Identity ( ), applied to future events (as in: , where denotes after a while). To see why it is indeed an axiom, assume that the universe is governed by chance. It follows, then, that there is no way to tell whether it will remain as such tomorrow. Similarly, the Law of Volition is simply the Law of Consciousness (I think therefore I am) applied to human action (to think or not to think, that is the question). Assume that there is no such thing as free-will. It follows, then, that you have drawn that conclusion, not because it is right, but because, having no choice, you simply had to. Behind every axiomatic statement is an axiomatic concept. Just like an axiomatic statement cannot be proved because it is presupposed by any possible statement, an axiomatic concept cannot be defined (i.e., distinguished from all other concepts), because it contains any possible concept. Just for fun, make an attempt to define "cause" and "will" in a non-circular way. You are bound to find that it is impossible.
  • 4. –BODY: LITERATURE– Based on and inspired by Ayn Rand's preeminent novel Atlas Shrugged2 THE REARDEN METAL AND GLASS MADE MONUMENT ROSE FAR ABOVE THE EARTH. The sun was gently setting, and my personal watch read: September 2nd . I had detected a code leading to the email address pattern of Galt's Gulch in the earliest edition of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I had been fascinated, but not shocked, by the knowledge that Henry Rearden read all of his emails. The content of my message had indicated solely of my willingness to "make ten thousand bucks off my study of your remarkable character—and share the prize." I had departed by an underground railroad. I had always been after unordinary, great minds, and here I got a chance to meet one in person. The mill spread across a grass hill, the central tower at its top. The tower consisted of a Rearden metal-made uniform prism—and a massive diamond shaped glass chamber upon it. Here, three of the hardest substances on earth coexisted: diamond, glass and Rearden Metal. If the prism served as the building's body, then the chamber represented its mind. Other than the transparent elevator shaftway in the middle of the prism's surface, the offices lacked windows, so that the employees could focus entirely on their work and, at the same time, enjoy unlimited privacy. The diamond was home to the mill's basic oxygen furnaces where pure oxygen and hot metal were turned into liquid steel, and therein lay its uniqueness. 2 Possibly, an introduction is needed here: Literature is a manifestation of human values, abstracted from real-life then concretized in an original, selective environment where only relevant factors are preserved. In a sense, it is a laboratory experiment presenting ways of life in action. Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is unique in that the ways of life it portrays are complete philosophical systems, stated explicitly by the characters. Ayn Rand thus creates a rich alternate universe, with its own technology, laws, colloquialisms and even (in part) history, directly analogous to our own. Moreover, it was in Atlas Shrugged that Ayn Rand first introduced revolutionary-yet-natural solution of the mind-body problem. As mentioned before, this part of the paper will be presented as a short fictional sequel/spin-off of Atlas Shrugged taking place in the 21 st century. So, let the story begin!
  • 5. The entrance lead directly to an elevator—since the building was so great in height, statistically speaking, it could be assumed that all the attendants were to ride upstairs. The elevator lifted rapidly with a constant velocity up to Rearden's office at the bottom of the chamber. As the whole mill could be viewed from the transparent office, which occupied the entire floor, the illusion of distance blasted. It had no furniture, save for a desk, a computer, and a pile of documents and handwritten calculation. Hank Rearden's silver hair had clues of what had once been blonde. He was eighty-seven—some ten years below the local average lifespan. Although he could have retired decades before, he kept on working, as he always would. Suddenly, it occurred to me that youth was a property of the spirit rather than the body. He had grown to enjoy discussing ideas. He did not smile, but his glance amounted to a smile. "Surely, you need not wait for my permission to have a seat," he said with a slight Philadelphia dialect, his voice clear and steady yet with a grain of cheerfulness. "Let's go down to business," I immediately announced. "I wanna start by asking about the greatest, or should I say only, love of your life. What does your metal mean to you?" "To me," he replied after a while, emphasizing every word, his eyes wide open, "Rearden Metal is a symbol of my body." It struck me that my interpretation of the tower architecture had been accurate. "In my Dark Years, I was asked to renounce both for the sake of the whims of unfamiliar and hostile people who hadn't conceived of their value, all in the name of some undefined 'spirituality.' Oh, dear Lord, this was a big lie. I swear they cared nothing for any kind of 'spirituality.' And yet, my metal— my metal—is an ultimate manifestation of my mind. It doesn't exist in nature, and nobody had managed to find out its formula until they had to resort to force. And
  • 6. that's why they gave it the offensive title of the 'Miracle Metal'—they hadn't conceived of my achievement or its possibility, and thus had to turn to black magic." "Now these are some unequivocal words. What are your ‘Dark Years,’ and what's so dark about them? Do you blame yourself for your past actions?' "Well, I did what I thought was right, but what I thought was right simply wouldn't do it. I liked to do things—which I still do, but wasn't as philosophical as other guys from the Gulch. I was honest all right, but couldn't defend my views. I misinterpreted the motives of the looters, and assumed all of them were merely pursuing their happiness [1]. I was torn apart between my career and my private life [3]. I was ashamed of what made me who I was, while that shame was the only thing I should've been ashamed of. My marriage life was devastated by this monster Lillian [4], motivated by the desire to control me end-to-end and mock me for my virtues [5]. I thought it was my duty to keep this relationship going, and that the grey boredom and grey despair that ruled it were somehow noble and spiritual. I was subject to the utmost contradiction of the looter economy, that is, my money was used to further enforce its plunder, my metal for the sake of my own destruction. By my own consent, I gave 'em a power they wouldn't naturally have been entitled to: I gave them the power of consumption without production. On top of that, I'd say this much: My actions may have been understandable, but certainly not justifiable." More than anything, the calm, disciplined manner in which these words were spoken emphasized his passion. "And how does one get to resolve such a conflict?" "I engaged in ongoing self-development with a little help from my friends. Arguably, it was the first time I faced the need of company, and instead of a obstacle, this company was a bliss. Francisco taught me that my productive accomplishments
  • 7. were of immense value to the human mind, and pointed out that there was no distinction between what's good for my body from a biological perspective and what's good for my mind from a moral point of view [6]. Um, well, thanks to my ex-wife, it's no secret that I had an affair with Dagny Taggart, and I'm no longer ashamed to admit that it was quite amazing. I still remember the touch of her skin. From this I learned that love is an emotional response to the personal equivalent of oneself, that without loving oneself no love is a possible, and that loving anyone means loving no one. I learned as well that sex wasn't a sin, but a noble act and a celebration of whatever's good in life [7]. Upon testifying at the court, I learned that it was I who gave the looters power, and that without me accepting their basic premises they would be impotent [8]. As much as I dreaded to acknowledge it, Ragnar Danneskjöld taught me that I should not remain passive amid depravity in the name of some mistaken and disarming notion of morality. He taught me that justice was always to be quested, and that it was as just as anything could be to employ any means necessary, legal or otherwise, to take back the money stolen from me by fore [9]. And of course, the most important lesson was that of John Galt, who taught me that, like any other personality crisis, mine was rooted in a flawed philosophical premise, which is the mind-body dichotomy. He taught me that that there was no contradiction between spirit and matter, the moral and the practical, principles and facts, intellectual freedom and political freedom [10]. Only then did I fully realize that my mind and my body were as one, and as a consequence became happy with my life." "Do you keep track of current events in the Old West? Do you regard your personal biography as a warning—and a lesson—to good guys like you out there?"
  • 8. "It takes a whole lot of skill to be more consistent than the Western world at inconsistency. In the long run, however, since contradictions cannot be put into practice, and since the principled always win, inconsistency never prevails. “The way I see it, the overall secular trend is materialist reductionism. They accept it as some kind of a scientific truth. But I taught myself higher chemistry, and it's got nothing to do with science; it's something way deeper. Genetics is one subject that regularly comes up on small talk. There is some considerable progress in medical science, you know, things that had been obvious to us for years. But then, in the realm of mental health, an utterly materialist approach is taken, let alone the unprincipled diagnosis of specific disorders by 'social norms.' That's not to suggest that no biological factors may be relevant to mental function. But the emphasis should be placed on a course of active change such as the one I undertook. Spiritualism is used primarily as a bromide to suppress men’s worldly concerns the looters desire to control. “But, as Marx teaches us, societies established on materialist philosophy lead to anything but material prosperity [11]. This has some enormous impact even on the very best of men. The classical example is programmer and entrepreneur Bill Gates. While mass used computer run almost exclusively on Windows, it is the masses that condemned him for his accomplishments. Accused of constructed crimes under a bunch of legal nonsense, he was assaulted by the government on the grounds that no one could compete with his products. To learn why principles matter, compare and contrast Gates's trial defense with mine. He was not strong enough to fight back, and accepted the precept that his achievements were material and as such devoid of moral value. He dedicated the rest of his life to giving away his wealth, which resulted in inferior products and his eventual retirement [12].
  • 9. "Steve Jobs stands as a more inspirational example. He recently made his way here, and is about to release his brand new handheld computer MacCu3ed3 . Exploiting both John’s electrostatic motor technology and superconducting Rearden metal4 , this thing’s a true perpetuum mobile machine, and may be the most powerful commercial laptop ever manufactured. Thanks to his uncompromised vision, Jobs integrated modern architecture with the sciences, innovation with user-friendliness, beauty with efficiency, and mind with body [14]. He did absorb some flawed ideas about mind and body in the world. But—even know he will lose his mind if he hears that—I think I can safely say that it’s a matter of a few years until he doesn’t remember what the word 'Maharishi' stands for. 3 Steve Paul Jobs arrived at Galt’s Gulch in the year of 2011. The foundation of his third corporation, G–D Integrated Technologies Inc., followed shortly after. By March 2013, the development of Mac Cubed (stylized MacCu3ed), which became G–D's greatest asset for the ages overnight. MacCu3ed featured three parts, together making a cube: A multi-touch LCD screen, a hard drive combined with keyboard with built-in mouse, as well as the computer box itself. Separated, the three served as a table computer, with the three combined it served as a laptop, and with the screen and the computer alone it served as a tablet. Shedding light on the title given to the new device, Jobs explained that three was his favorite number, and was related to his life and career in many ways, such as the combination of a screen, a keyboard and a mouse seen in the classic Macintosh, the three functions of the iPhone presented in its original announcement, and now the three parts and three modes of the MacCu3ed. Jobs's team managed to isolate the interior of the computer from its exterior, so as to make possible superconducting temperatures. With superconductive technology, the product consumed little energy, and could rest entirely on electrostatic energy in the way proposed by John Galt decades earlier. Therefore, no process of active charging or battery replacement was required. Referring to the production of energy out of static electricity, the official marketing slogan was "So dynamic it makes even the static flow." 4 Superconductivity is a phenomenon in which the electrical resistance of certain materials drops to zero at temperatures close to the absolute zero. This number has been determined with remarkable accuracy by experiments, proving that current can flow in a superconductor for billions of years [13]. Privately-funded superconductivity research flourished at Galt's Gulch. One bright physicist in his mid- 20's, Irwin Baum PhD., discovered that Rearden Metal exhibited superconductive behavior at astonishingly high 130K, a result which could not be explained in terms of the current theory. In a series of sophisticated experiments, by managing to undo the weak measurement of the charge distribution in the apparatus, Dr. Baum reaffirmed that elementary particles occupied distinct trajectories. Such was the beginning of a third scientific revolution. Incidentally, the revolutionary new theory of physics implied a new kind of an interaction, giving rise to uncertainty. The uncertainty was quantized (viz discrete rather than continuous), and grew with the complexity of the interacting system. The simplest unit to exhibit it was found to be the living cell, in which it was barely observable, the most complicated the human brain. The above easily translated to an evolutionary view of volition. Thus was free will reconciled with an otherwise deterministic Theory of Everything.
  • 10. "Do I see my biography as a lesson to the Old West?—Frankly, I'm not an altruist, and the Old West doesn't normally bother me—not anymore. But to the extent that it affects me, I wish my lesson would increase the distribution of entrepreneurs like myself in the Old West, and encourage them to give up neither their minds nor their bodies as years drift by.” "Mr. Rearden," I turned to go, "thanks for your time and vision." He merely stood up and nodded. "Oh, and in time—" "If you understand why that's right and always keep it in mind, you will," he interrupted. With no further word and with a genuine smile that knew no limits, I left the office. My next destination would have been the immigration department, had I not been informed by the secretary that there was no immigration department, and that the government complex was the most modest building around—which answered my question. I threw the excuses aside, and walked with no destination in mind, all alone. The skyscrapers served as a satisfactory light source at night, and no street lighting was required. Hence was yet another "major" problem about the private supply of goods solved. A star was visible in the skies—quite an unlikely incident given the light pollution of the city. It was Venus. One of these days, I thought, this tiny point of light will be settled by man—if only mind and body come as one.
  • 11. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– External References * No external references from the section dealing with philosophy, because philosophy is self-contained and complete. [1] Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, p. 46: "He thought: What do I care about the nature of his desire?—it's his, just as Rearden Metal was mine—it must mean to him what that meant to me— let's see him happy just once, it might teach him something—didn't I say that happiness is the agent of purification?—I'm celebrating tonight, so let him share in it—it will be so much for him, and so little for me." [2] Ibid., p. 859: Rearden: "I had cut myself in two, as the mystics preached, and I ran my business by one code of rules, but my own life by another." [3] Ibid., p. 155: "His desire for her had died in the first week of their marriage. What remained was only a need which he was unable to destroy. He had never entered a whorehouse; he thought, at times, that the self-loathing he would experience there could be no worse than what he felt when he was driven to enter his wife's bedroom." [4] Ibid., p. 288: Dialogue between Lillian and Hank Rearden: "What I want is non-material.” “What is it?” “You.” “How do you mean that, Lillian? You don't mean it in the gutter sense.” “No, not in the gutter sense." [5] Ibid., p. 418: Dialogue between d'Aconia and Rearden: “You ought to know, Mr. Rearden. You're one of the last moral men left to the world.” Rearden chuckled in bitter amusement. “I've been called just about everything but that. And you're wrong. You have no idea how wrong.” “Are you sure?” “I ought to know. Moral? What on earth made you say it?” Francisco pointed to the mills beyond the window. “This.”
  • 12. [6] Ibid., p. 785: Rearden: "[Dagny] knew that the physical desire I was damning as our mutual shame, is neither physical nor an expression of one's body, but the expression of one's mind's deepest values, whether one has the courage to know it or not." [7] Ibid., p. 443: Rearden: "If you choose to deal with men by means of compulsion, do so. But you will discover that you need the voluntary co-operation of your victims, in many more ways than you can see at present." [8] Ibid., p. 533: Danneskjöld: "It is a policeman's duty to retrieve stolen property and return it to its owners. But when robbery becomes the purpose of the law, and the policeman's duty becomes, not the `protection, but the plunder of property—then it is an outlaw who has to become a policeman." Rearden is initially suspicious toward Danneskjöld, but later on helps him cover his identity from a couple of (official) policemen, and finally accepts the gold offered to him by Danneskjöld. [9] Ibid., pp. 971-972: Galt: "This country . . . could not stand on the mystic split that divorced man’s soul from his body. It could not live by the mystic doctrine that damned this earth as evil and those who succeeded on earth as depraved. . . . It was one or the other: America or mystics. The mystics knew it; you didn’t. You let them infect you with the worship of need—and this country became a giant in body with a mooching midget in place of its soul, while its living soul was driven underground to labor and feed you in silence, unnamed, unhonored, negated, its soul and hero: the industrialist. Do you hear me now, Hank Rearden, the greatest of the victims I have avenged?" [10] Marx held that the status-quo is not a result of the thoughts and choices of individuals, but of material factors, society as a whole, as well as the abstract structure of history itself. "It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being," Marx famously argued in his preface to Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, "but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness." [11] See The Giving Pledge official website and United States of America v. Microsoft Corporation: Final Judgment. [12] For the description of superconductivity, refer to Richard P. Feynman et al., The Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol. III, Chapter 21. Interestingly enough, the writer employs a controversial
  • 13. deterministic, realistic approach handle the phenomenon, which is the inspiration behind the fictional development of theoretical science described. Nevertheless, with the exception of the elementary facts cited, everything is pure science fiction. [13] Steve Jobs quoted n Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs, p. 527: "We believe that it's technology married with the humanities that yields us the result that makes our heart sing." Having read Jobs's biography, I interpret this statement in a broader sense than the literal one. General impression of Steve Jobs's character similarly based on his biography.