Nietzsche & Rand, Sinners & Criminals

“The Christian resolve to find the world evil and ugly, has made the world evil and ugly.”

 ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“There’s no way to rule innocent men.
The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals.
Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them.
One declares so many things to be a crime
that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

 ~ Ayn Rand 1905-1982

8 thoughts on “Nietzsche & Rand, Sinners & Criminals

  1. Mr. Steele, can you aid my sword to penetrate this without being destroyed?

    This has been on my mind for some time: do you think the formalisation of occupations isn’t an encumbrance to self-development? Kierkegaard and Jung thought the religions were to lead us there and I think something’s there as the predominant theme is rejection of values or the shedding of the vestments of ‘organised life’. But, is it possible when each person is turned into a machine that can produce the laces so well but not the sole?

    Perhaps, that is the crux of the whole development business for if one is able to give all that up, he really must have some fortitude.

    • I don’t know. Can I? 🙂

      I think formalisation of occupations is essential to modern civilization. I really don’t know if it’s an encumbrance to self-development.

      I’m not sure about the full context of your thoughts, but I interpret formalisation of occupations as being related to social roles and personas. Does something need to be given up? I honestly don’t know. All I can say is that I idealize being what I am as fully as possible and seeing the world for what it is without blinders.

      The two quotes above are about making the world into something else. I don’t desire to make the world into anything else. I don’t want anything to get in the way of seeing clearly, of knowing truly.

      Did I answer your question? Or have I misuderstood what you were asking?

      Your query seems complex. Bringing up Kierkegaard and Jung is no small potatoes. I’m not all that familiar with Kierkegaard, but I definitely appreciate Jung’s view on life. Jung valued the individual and valued the authenticity of personal experience. Certainly, Jung had no simple notion about self-development.

  2. It’s almost unrelated to the 2 quotes but it can have some play.

    You see, with all these professionals prancing about in their jerseys playing their roles to perfection on a turf far larger than their customary area, I wonder how one can get his self developed.

    Nietzsche attempting to slay morality could be seen as a way to give wing to the self though he forgets his make-up made that easier than it really is.

    Observation of professionals has given me some evidence that self-development and the two may be irreconciliable especially when pursued concurrently. As Jung remarked, the development process is a turbulent affair so it might just have to be a whole life on its own.

    I do concede it is possible to do both however it is potentially a massive explosion.

    • I see what you’re saying.

      I can’t way whether there is any inherent conflict between playing a social role (as a professional or anything else for tthat matter) and self-development. Many people believe that seeking a profession can be a part of self-development.

      I think there is a conflation of self-development and self-exploration/self-awareness. Self-development may or may not be conducive towards self-exploration/awareness, but it certainly can get in the way for many people. In your case, I’m assuming that by using the term ‘self-development’ you mean self-exploration/awareness.

      I think it’s fine that there are both Nietzsches and professionals in the world. We are born with individual tendencies and preferences. We are born into unique situations and have different early experiences. We end up being who we are for reasons mostly outside of our control (and some would argue entirely outside of our control).

      Jung didn’t think anyone should force self-exploration. If someone was happy in their life, there wasn’t any good reason that such a person should seek anything else and it wasn’t a good idea for someone else to try to disturb them. He didn’t think the depths of the psyche should be ventured into lightly. If you’re beliefs are working out for you, then you have no need for questioning. I suppose there is some wisdom in this, but I personally wish more people were forced out of their contented mindlessness.

      Can someone play the role of a professional and ‘self-explore’? Jung is an example that it’s possible, but he had enough money and support (from family, friends & associates) to take off time when he needed it. It seems that Jung lived a fairly contemplative life in his last decades and he had few responsibilities other than his patients. There are many kinds of professionals. A businessman, for instance, would probably have a much more difficult time doing both simultaneously.

      I know that I wouldn’t be capable of being a professional and self-explore at the same time. My life is intentionally organized so as to be unstressful. I know my limits. Besides, I have no desire to be a professional.

  3. I guess I should turn the question back around to the questioner.

    Is there a personal reason your asking?

    Are you wondering if you could be a professional of some sort and self-explore?

    Or are you merely pondering the professionals that you see running about all busy and self-important?

  4. Yeah, it is the last, the runners who think they have enough to be superhuman. I like that mention of a ‘contented mindlessness’, believe it or not, I say the same thing but in other words.

    In respect of being a professional and self-exploring, I know it can be, for the professional is just using his best tools to meander through the laterite of life. Yea, having a profession is part of self-development but most professionals sit on their haunches and be content, they don’t explore their own houses so the floorboards creak and the doors screech. My concern is that finding the other parts of oneself could lead to a complete desertion of ‘normal’ life which usually comes to those realised individuals like Lao Tzu etc.

  5. Plus, I was just wondering; all these psych findings, do people apply them at all? Even the psychs themselves, do they use them, say, child-rearing? With comedians said to have bad depression numbers (okay, the sources are a bit sketchy), one can only wonder.

    Still, even if the numbers turn out genuine, wouldn’t it just be normal and the circumstances of the subjects are hypersensitising the observer?

    • I’ve been meaning to respond further to your comments, but I no longer remember what my intended response might’ve been. Your last comment got me thinking.

      I’ve met some people working in the psychological field (such as psychotherapists) who try to live their lives according to what they’ve learned. I don’t know how much their knowledge helps them. I don’t know to what degree they are successful.

      I don’t know how helpful psych findings are to people elsewhere. I’m sure the average person doesn’t try to apply psych findings to their personal lives, but psychology is everywhere: advertising, PR, political campaigning, torture, education, etc.

      I can’t speak for any other countries. In America, we love using psychology for everything. The MBTI was of course designed by Americans and it was designed for the purpose of helping people find employment that fit their personality. Psychological testing used to be very popular for companies, but there were some legal issues with using it.

      I was just reading about the relationship of models of childrearing and politics. The book is Moral Politics by George Lakoff. The morality of family life is very central to American culture and I suppose it would be central for other cultures as well. Lakoff thinks models of family life are the fundamental metaphor for morality and politics.

      There has been a lot of research about the results of different styles of parenting which Lakoff discusses. Because America has lacked a stable traditional culture, Americans have (especially in the 20th century) looked to experts to tell them how they should parent and this role has been increasingly filled by psychologists.

      By the way, were you making a connection between childrearing and comedians? I’m not sure I’ve seen any research about that. I think I might’ve blogged a while back about comedians and certain psychological factors. I know I meant to write about it, but maybe I never did.

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