Ayn Rand, in Respect of "Respect"

April 20, 2008 by  

I today received a message from a youtube viewer, who wrote:

I just came across the work of Ayn Rand. What is the explanation of Ayn Rand about what the word respect means.

I replied as follows:

I don’t believe Ayn Rand gave the word any definition that is peculiar to her philosophy. She pretty much used the word in the various ways it is defined in dictionaries.

Generally speaking, to “respect” is to look at or acknowledge the existence/identity of something (e.g., to “respect”/identify the fact that a man is a man and that, because of what that implies for the rational pursuit of ones own happiness, it is wrong to take his life, liberty, or property without his consent…even if his views/beliefs are utterly irrational).

In some, but not all contexts, the word “respect” means, also, to hold a thing in high regard; to value it. In this latter sense, an Objectivist would (for example) “respect”/value rational egoism, but not altruism or irrational egoism (e.g., hedonism).

In yet another context, “respect” means “concerning” (as in “With respect to his politics, he is black and white. With respect to his ethics, he is many shades of gray”) or “manner” (as in “…the same attribute cannot at the same time belong and not belong to the same subject and in the same respect.”)

I’m not trying to be obtuse. Perhaps you can give me the context in which you mean the word “respect” to be used?




5 Responses to “Ayn Rand, in Respect of "Respect"”

  1. SimonO'Riordan on April 22nd, 2008 11:56 am

    That’s a nice set of definitions.
    The problem I might have had at my time of discovery many years ago was that my mind had been hobbled by home life and state education, to the stage that I was unable in many cases to integrate a set of heirarchical concepts without recourse to a habitl of instinctiveness.
    The mind used to be under attack.
    These days it’s worse.
    Today you can’t even watch half of British television even with the volume turned down; the perceptual abuse is so powerful and directed with such aggressive singularlty at disintegrating our actions/reactions, it’s a wonder anybody who watches can still drive a car or be taught to.
    And when they get out and actually do something, the pain and conflict are like being thrown off the battlements by Vlad the Impaler.

  2. McKeever on April 22nd, 2008 12:05 pm

    Simon, will you share (here) an example of that perceptual abuse, and explain its function in disintegrating actions/reactions? And, is there maybe a youtube clip of the example, so that we can all see it?

  3. SimonO'Riordan on April 24th, 2008 3:24 pm

    I don’t know that I can spare the effort to trawl You Tube for British TV that I try to avoid, particularly as any spare energy I have at the moment is going into writing my third novel!
    (And damned little spare energy at that).
    But ‘perceptual abuse’ is certainly possible to describe.
    For example, the aural example would be the Channel 4 announcer who has a Geordie accent so thick that it is an assault on the very idea of education and self-betterment, the very idea of standards and clarity.
    In fact this announcer has vanished as the ‘egalitarian’ message has backfired and many people presumably simply don’t know what the hell he was saying.

    On my Cell Phone(Vodafone) the menu-driven automated service agent has started to talk like an idiot. I could quite believe myself to be in a crappy episode of a crappy British soap. When what I want is calling credit, from my industrial-power, serious credit card.

    Visually, in advertisments it takes the from of poor, piss-poor camera work, designed to FAKE a low budget, expensively re-created incompetence.
    This is supposed to convey ‘spontaneity’. Fraud.

    These are all examples of MORAL disingenuation.
    PERCEPTUAL examples would include the aggressive and assertive use of side-angle close ups to convey seriousness and sincerity; at the worst the sequence of images that would normally convey a sequence of events(the VERY BASIS of visual story-telling) is disrupted, and shaken about to prevent the association of view with story, presentation with event.
    It is an attempt to induce baby-like feelings of mother-comfort with viewing, as a sub-conceptual level of image acquisition is created.

    Needless to say I change channels immediately.

  4. SimonO'Riordan on April 24th, 2008 3:25 pm

    Come to think of it, I’ll take a look right now.

  5. SimonO'Riordan on April 24th, 2008 3:38 pm

    Poor example. But it is visual fraud.
    They aren’t trying to sell me anything but bullshit.
    By the way, it’s a mobile phone company.

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