Besides individual responsibilities, there are collective responsibilities as well. There is individualism and collectivism. There is objectivism and subjectivism. There are those that encourage and enable us to do the right thing, that change or subjective sense. Others are important even in if they are examples of what not to do. Rand does acknowledge this. But it is always the case with such a one, even with Jesus Christ himself, that interpretations often prevail. Rand, though, without a doubt, has written enough so we can get a clear picture of what it meant by ojectivism.
It is indeed very difficult to be totally objective. Rand's philosophy itself points to this, even to the apparent destruction of her personal life. She had isolated so many people, even those who really cared for her. Having read more than a few biographies on her, it appears as if her individualism and intense objectivism perhaps caused her to objectify others. This is always a great danger. The danger is that is that objectivism or subjectivism relies on both us and others outside of ourselves to even be crystallized or understood. Other matter confirm or reject our understanding, whether they are present or absent, in the mind or actual, and how this is crystallized is how others receive it. Rand seemed to sometimes miss this very basic knowing.
Rand's work is appreciated very much, neither do I stand in judgment of her personal journey either. But it is important to consider sometimes the whole writer, especially in matters of philosophy. While Rand is an icon in the business world, former Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, was a friend and devotee, it is important to always consider that she was basically a philosopher and was not herself a businesswoman. Sometimes it's far easier to philosophize than to actualize. There is no disrespect intended here at all.
Most of us, philosophize instead of actualize often on a whole host of things. We are hearers and speakers and not doers. This, however, does not necessarily negate the truth of words if the words are spoken and not done. But it most certainly can negatively affect others, especially impressionable minds, and these are not merely kids and young people. Our existence here is not merely about us, but about others. So, in our speaking it is important that we seek to live out our words. But there is no ill-judgement from me, as I am well aware that we are on this journey at different places.
The desire to distinguish between philosophizing and actualizing is very important in business. It is not about whether one can have good ideas as I see it, but about whether these good ideas can be actualized in real settings where human relations matter most, even if all else is essential. For example, I can sit in my office day after day and think of brilliant ideas. If I never put those ideas to action, if I never test them which usually include other matter, what is the efficacy of the ideas? People matter. Other people and the philosophy by which we integrate our ideas are very important. But without action they are words words words. Faith (belief) without works (action) is dead."
If the mind alone is actualization, as Rand has been purported to believe, it can be a great detriment to business. The mind can be a debilitating crippling thing, even with, especially with a philosophy. The mind itself does not necessarily propel action. On a physiological level, if this was so paraplegics would be able to move their arms and legs and walk, as their mind alone would propel them to do so. They are certainly thoughtful.
While there are missing signals to the brain, paraplegics often say that they can walk, but they cannot. I am now thinking of the brilliant physicist, Stephen Hawking. He cannot even talk on his own, but his mind is more sharp and active than most. I am incredibly in awe of him. Hmm? I guess what he does would be most certainly considered action. He is also not a businessman, producing products or services in trade. His ideas, however, propel others into action, i.e., into space etc.
The immobility of our actions, yet the constant contemplating of our minds, often brings about a malaise in business. Thinking is never enough for anything. When considering children, if we do not teach them through our daily reinforcement of words and actions propelled by conscious thought, they would never be taught. They would not evolve beyond infancy even though their bodies will develop. The integration that Rand speaks of is one of the mind but requires action beyond it. As paraplegics there are many missing signals without action. The mind alone is not enough and it is often other matter that propels us to actualization. We are helpers one to another and this include matter of all kind. I learn from trees. "I see trees as men."
Here is Rand on objectivism:
You have no choice about the necessity to integrate your observations, your experiences, your knowledge into abstract ideas, i.e., into principles. Your only choice is whether these principles are true or false, whether they represent your conscious, rational convictions – or a grab bag of notions snatched at random, whose sources, validity, context and consequences you do not know, notions which, more often than not, you would drop like a hot potato if you knew.- -Ayn Rand, 1974 "Philosophy: Who Needs It?"
But the principles you accept (consciously or unconsciously) may clash with or contradict one another; they too have to be integrated. What integrates them? Philosophy. A philosophic system is an integrated view of existence. As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation, or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self doubt, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind’s wings should have grown.
Statements like these are the reasons I so admire Rand. She is a powerful thinker. It is clear that she understands the necessity of what Hegel wrote of and Sartre later determined as being in the world for oneself and being in the world for others. It is always a constant integration, often both known and unknown. It seems that Rand’s interest is lining up the subconscious so that action is better directed. The "ball and chain" about which she spoke is an undisciplined mind. But I know very many disciplined people who are a far cry from great entrepreneurs. In fact, many of my business friends who really are very successful in business did not even go to college. This may simply mean that there are various forms of discipline which in one sense undermines objectivism. If there are many objectivities, are these not subjectivities?
Rand's notion that the basics of capitalism is trade, instead of a coercion, is readily acknowledged. But to leave it up to the State or the markets, without regulation is to essentially have coercion. At the best of capitalism is freedom. This is the core of her philosophy that I so appreciate and this is what I was most referring to when I spoke of her history influencing her philosophy. From my very basic spiritual base there is no better system than capitalism, as choice is even the basics of my faith. But capitalism without restraint and a moral compass is destructive as we have seen. "Money answers all things."