PURPOSE: To facilitate communication within the Internet Objectivist Community.
In his taped lecture series "OBJECTIVISM: The State of the Art," Dr. Leonard Peikoff shared some brilliant insights into the nature of Objectivism and the nature of the Objectivist movement. For example, he defined intrinsicism, subjectivism, and objectivism at a fundamental level. Intrinsicism was defined as the view that awareness is the passive grasp of the object by the subject. Subjectivism was defined as the view that awareness is the active creation of the object by the subject. And objectivism was defined as the view that awareness is the active grasp of the object by the subject.
Likewise, Dr. Peikoff admitted that there is a strong strain of intrinsicism within the Objectivist movement, which in his view, is the product of emphasizing the role of reality in knowledge to the detriment of recognizing the role played by volition. To some extent, he seemed to think that this was natural, as a corrective to the subjectivism which is dominant in today's culture.
In my view, these are hardly the most important insights to be offered by "OBJECTIVISM: The State of the Art." It also offers important insights into the nature of the Objectivist metaphysics, the nature of Objectivist logic, and by implication, the nature of the philosophy of Objectivism as a whole. However, these two insights may be of some value in analyzing a current controversy regarding the nature of The Objectivist Ring itself.
Within the internet Objectivist community, there are a great many individuals who believe that to link to a site is to sanction all which a site stands for. Consequently, when such individuals create websites, they link only to sites they are in full agreement with. It is as if, by linking to a site which they are in partial disagreement with, they would be poisoning the minds of those who visit their sites and follow the links to material which would be passively absorbed by an unconscious process of osmosis.
As a result, when these people look at The Objectivist Ring, they assume that any site on the Ring endorses or at least sanctions the views of every other site which is on the Ring. The possibility of any alternative to this completely escapes them.
For people outside of the Objectivist movement, the possibility that alternatives exist to this is not merely a theoretical possibility, but a concrete actuality. Some people link to sites they have found to be of value, even if they disagree with some of the content -- they are not afraid that those who visit their site will passively absorb whatever they come into contact with, but expect active minds which are able to examine material critically. Likewise, some people will even link to sites they are in complete disagreement with, because they believe that such sites prove their case for them, for an active mind. Such people quite properly assume that the segment of the audience which they are concerned with have active minds. Those who have passive minds are of little or no value, in the long run.
Such a policy is common among many non-Objectivists. But at various times, it is missing within the Objectivist movement. Within the internet Objectivist community, individuals will often link only to sites which have loyalties to the same "authorities," as a matter of principle.
In this respect, The Objectivist Ring has more in common with some non-Objectivists than with some Objectivists. The assumption behind the Ring is that those who visit it have active minds, or at least, that those who are of consequence and visit it have an active mind -- that they do not simply acquire knowledge or misinformation by a passive process of osmosis, but engage in critical thought.
In his article "Volition as Cognitive Self-Regulation," Dr. Harry Binswanger made a very important contribution to the Objectivist corpus. One of his more important insights was the fact that the objective will wills that it adhere to reality; this is its fundamental motivation. The act and the motive are the same -- to adhere to reality. Any motive which undercuts this -- whether, for example, it be the motive to be loyal to a given authority or to rebel against a given authority, or to protect one's self-concept from some possible source of anxiety (such as when a philosophy major perceives technical, academic philosophy as too difficult, remains at the popularized level of philosophy, and defensively attacks those who do otherwise) -- necessarily prevents the consciousness which exercises this will from adhering to reality. Thus, at the metaphysical level (in terms of his analysis of volition), Dr. Binswanger identified core elements of the epistemological principle that identification precedes evaluation, both logically and chronologically, which is itself an epistemological derivative of the metaphysical principle of the primacy of existence.
An objective will, which engages in an active process through which it adheres to reality, cannot allow loyalties to a given authority or party to stand between itself and its volitional adherence to reality. Such loyalties result in a package deal, in which personalities are given precedence over principles. For the objective will, principles come before personalities. For the objective will, the primary motivation consists of neither loyalty to, or rebellion against, a given authority, but of something far greater than the cause for which any holy war is fought: the choice to adhere to reality. Thus, two essential characteristics of the objective will are its recognition of the fact that identification precedes evaluation (and thus, the fact that it grants identification primacy in cognition); and its epistemic virtue of intellectual independence, which means that its first loyalty is always to reality, and its loyalty to people is secondary, and exists only to the extent that, to the best of its own judgment, others are themselves loyal to reality.
As the objective will matures, it seeks to encourage a similiar will in others, out of the recognition of a shared human potential. It encourages them to be active, to ask questions and to seek answers. It asks not for their loyalty to itself, but to reality. For such a will, disagreement is not immediately perceived as some sort of threat, but as an opportunity to identify the basis which an "opponent" has for holding different views and to further identify the basis of one's own views.
This is the spirit behind The Objectivist Ring. The Ring consists not simply of a collection of sites held together by so many links, but of individuals and organizations who -- regardless of their affiliations -- are held together first by their sincere interest in Objectivism, but moreover by the desire to make all sides of the serious debates within the Objectivist community available, to encourage people to look at the facts themselves, and then derive their own conclusions and evaluations. Make the facts available, and justice has a tendency to take care of itself.
As moderator of The Objectivist Ring, I encourage people to support the sites which they agree with, on or off the ring, and to even say who they support, if they so desire. But as for the Ring itself and one's membership in it, this serves an even greater purpose through its encouragement of open communication, an active process of identification, and intellectual independence.
The Objectivist Ring has been in existence since early February of 1997. Thanks to everyone who has chosen to participate, it has been very successful. To date, the ring includes sites for off-line journals (including a journal on technical philosophy entitled Objectivity), artists, published writers, off-line newsletters, an email group boasting of a membership which exceeds four hundred members, and an IRC channel. And more recently, the ring has added its first international site: the site of The Free Radical, a New Zealand based offline journal of very high standards, which nevertheless always publishes a number of their articles online in order to make them available to a wider audience.
New! (June 10, 1998) The TOR-Linkset Maker automatically writes the TOR-linkset specifically for your site. Gives you the option of three different sets of links, and takes into account whether or not your site is in frames.
New! (June 10, 1998) The Objectivist Ring's Discussion Forum Chat with Objectivists from all over the world, or just get together with a friend. Java is optional.
Recent... (March 10, 1998) TOR Messages is a new service being offered to the Internet Objectivist Community, a means by which members of this community can make announcements, share their views, ask and answer questions about Objectivism, and even debate. At the heart of this service is a message board which is there for all to use. Individuals can sign up for instant, email notification of new posts, and posters can sign up for instant, email notification of responses to their posts. The messages are searchable, and the message board automatically "remembers" who you are, so that the first time you type in your email address and name is the last time -- from then on, it types these in for you! With this new service, you no longer have to have a website to participate in the ring!
Formal members of the ring (website owners whose sites are part of the ring itself) can participate in a sponsorship program in which by adding one reciprocal link to their ring-link set, they receive a reciprocal link from every page generated by TOR Messages. If your site is part of the ring and you would like to participate in this program, add the new link found below to your linkset, and write me. I will then add your link to the list of sponsors found on every page of TOR Messages!
|Pertaining to THE OBJECTIVIST RING--|
|why THE OBJECTIVIST RING was created|
|Becoming a Member: Instructions/ Join [Application]|
|membership guidelines (detailed)|
|New!--The TOR-Linkset Maker|
|New!--The Objectivist Ring's Discussion Forum|
|Internet Resources free webspace, how to write HTML,...|
|Eight Links Pages (over fifty sites)|
firstname.lastname@example.org is a gold member of
The Objectivist Ring
email:Timothy D. Chase, "The Objectivist Ring"-Moderator © 1997,1998 by Timothy D. Chase. All rights reserved. This material is meant only for the personal reading of those who view it. Copies may be made for this purpose. Do not distribute.
email:Timothy D. Chase, "The Objectivist Ring"-Moderator
© 1997,1998 by Timothy D. Chase. All rights reserved.
This material is meant only for the personal reading of those who view it. Copies may be made for this purpose. Do not distribute.
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