Recently Brian Culkin posted an article entitled, In Defense of Ayn Rand. While I don’t offer any criticism of the fundamental point of the article, it was a good one, I do see a big inconsistency on one of his statement.
“My personal belief is that the philosophy of Rand, when applied on a higher plane that also includes a deeper sense of spirituality, can easily be aligned with Buddhism, Yoga or any other philosophical system that embodies the human potential.” ~ Brian Culkin
Ayn Rand’s philosophy is directly at odds with with spirituality and anything you might set on par with a “higher plane”. As Brian mentions, she was a militant atheist, a point of view completely inconsistent with Buddhism or Yoga.
Rand trumpets self interest, atheism, and full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism. Her philosophy, coming into its own with the advent of the current conservative movement may have some chops. But it offers a barren and self-ish world view and in my opinion, doesn’t hold up to the test of examination.
Her philosophy portrays man’s condition as an individual alone in the world. While this perspective may seem familiar, it treats interdependence and its by product, cooperation, as a mere convention based on self interest. It also denies the transcendent.
In contrast, Yoga—the union of the transcendent and the conventional self, and Buddhism—being awake to the transcendent and conventional aspects of ourselves, take into account the deep connection and interdependence of life.
Rand’s philosophy only takes a half step towards the truth. I find it odd that she shares a home in today’s conservative movement with Evangelical Christians. I think trying to draw parallels between Yoga, Buddhism and Rand’s Objectivism is a case of talking out of both sides of your mouth. Human potential is further served by embracing the transcendent. Objectivism cuts it off at the heart.
Click here to read more about the differences between Ayn Rand and the great mystics of the world’s spiritual traditions.
Andrew Furst is a Meditation Teacher for Buddha Heart USA, a yogi, a backup guitarist for his two teenage boys, a lucky husband, a third dan, and a self employed software consultant. He’s generally forgetful and generally interested. He’s constantly trying to remind himself that he’s in union with the great divine, and willing to send reminders to anyone needing the same.
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