Hugo was a giant. He created brilliantly Romantic novels, poetry and plays, and he did so with dedicated purpose: “Everything in a work of art is an act of will.” Learn about the life, works and impact of the man Ayn Rand considered “the greatest novelist in world literature.” His writing, he said, “knocks on the door and says, Open up, I have come for you.” Let’s accept his invitation.
This talk was recorded live on June 25th as part of OCON 2019.
Tal Tsfany, ARI’s president and CEO, reviews ARI’s mission to spread Objectivism and the progress made during 2018–19. ARI’s strategy for the future is presented together with many data points and insights collected through newly implemented technologies and methodologies. Tal then answers questions about the direction ARI is taking.
The Romantic Manifesto is a rich and philosophically penetrating book. It is, Rand states in her introduction, a “declaration of my personal objectives or motives” as an artist and “of the theoretical grounds that entitle me to these objectives and motives.” We explore some of the insights into Objectivism we get from her manifesto and some lessons to take—or not to take—from the book to increase one’s enjoyment of art and of life.
The question of whether there is or is not a God is certainly one of life’s big questions, and it’s one that almost all of us have had to grapple with at some point in our lives. Many of us were raised in a religious environment but have come to have doubts or questions about whether God exists. For those of us who were raised in a nonreligious atmosphere, sometimes we come to wonder whether the religious have it right about God’s existence. But how do you answer the question? How do you approach the question if what you are aiming at, what you are trying to reach, is knowledge, genuine knowledge of what’s actually true. What methods do you use to answer the question, “Is there a God?”
Join Aaron Smith as he asks one of life’s big questions: Is there a God?
The question “Isn’t Everybody Selfish?” is often asked cynically by people who think selfishness is a bad thing and that it’s impossible to avoid. Sometimes it is said by economists who think that selfishness helps to explain human action, and sometimes the question is posed skeptically to people, e.g., Ayn Rand, who say that everyone ought to be selfish. If everyone is selfish all the time, what point is there in saying that people ought to be? In this talk, Salmieri discusses what selfishness really means, what it is to act selfishly and how often that really happens.
Popular discussions of economics—with their focus on macroeconomic factors such as GDP, total unemployment, total jobs numbers, etc.—often reflect a collectivist mindset. This contributes to the America-versus-the-world tribalism inherent in today’s calls for tariffs and immigration restrictions. By contrast, the individualist approach embraces economic freedom and global trade.
This video was recorded at AynRandCon in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 3, 2018.
Unfortunately, all three branches of our government are contributing to the tribalization of our legal system. As a result, the substance of our laws along with the laws’ administration authority are increasingly determined by power shifts among rival groups rather than by the sovereignty of individual rights.
This audio was recorded at AynRandCon in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 3, 2018.
Ayn Rand held that an individual’s pursuit of “his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.” Fifty years ago, Rand published The Virtue of Selfishness, a groundbreaking book laying out her ethics of rational egoism. What does it look like to be selfish in your own life? In this introductory talk, Elan Journo discusses Rand’s conception of morality and sketches what it looks like in practice.
College used to be grounded in the inviolate principle that each of us should confront new ideas, speak our minds, and learn. Has that time passed? This year (2017) alone we have seen a riot at U.C. Berkeley and violence at Middlebury College over controversial speakers. Instead of “express yourself,” a new view seems to be taking hold: “Suppress yourself—or I’ll do it for you.” What is happening to free speech on campus?
In this panel discussion (sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute and the University of Southern California Political Student Assembly and Young Americans for Liberty), three leading voices in this field address current threats to freedom of speech on college campuses: Dave Rubin, Creator and Host of “The Rubin Report”; Colin Moriarty, Creator and Host of “Colin’s Last Stand,” and Steve Simpson, Director of Legal Studies, Ayn Rand Institute, and editor of “Defending Free Speech.”
This panel was recorded live at the Seeley G. Mudd Building, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, on Thursday, April 13, 2017.
Discussing Objectivism: Ayn Rand’s Philosophy for Living on Earth (Part 2). Recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018. This session explores the basic contours of Ayn Rand’s overall philosophy by discussing highlights from Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged. (We try to avoid Atlas plot spoilers.)
This is the third episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate join Dave Rubin to discuss Enlightenment culture and the pursuit of happiness, in contrast with the culture of tribalism and self-sacrifice.
This session explores the basic contours of Ayn Rand’s overall philosophy by discussing highlights from Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged. On Day 1, we discuss the following questions: Is our society and our world, like Galt’s, going through a moral crisis? Why does Galt think the solution to this crisis is to discover morality, rather than return to it? What is the morality for living on earth, and on what earthly facts is it based? (We try to avoid Atlas plot spoilers.)
Yaron Brook talks with Onkar Ghate and Greg Salmieri about free speech, the Patreon scandal, and Sam Harris’s reaction. During this Livestream from the Ayn Rand Institute the guests will discuss free speech from an Objectivist perspective and why the controversy is philosophic in nature.
This talk integrates the moral perspective offered by Rand’s “trader principle” with psychological tools and insights for improving assertive communication. Attendees will learn how skills such as reflective listening, the “broken record” technique, perspective-taking, and ”I”-statements can deepen the intimacy and value derived from close personal relationships, largely by conveying respect for the other person’s volition and value-context while also demanding respect for one’s own. Recorded at Objectivist Conferences 2018
“More Things in Heaven and Earth”: Spacetime, Black Holes, and Gravitational Waves
The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the first-ever detection of gravitational waves, confirming a 100-year-old prediction of Einstein’s. The discovery, announced in 2015, launched a new era of gravitational wave astronomy, but also raises challenging philosophical questions about the nature of space, time and gravity. What are gravitational waves and how are they being used to study the universe? And is there an inherent conflict between General Relativity and key metaphysical principles?
This talk was recorded live at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018 in Newport Beach, California.
A video version of this talk that includes supporting images can be found on ARI’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwJ8Rl-dN9s
The political climate in the West, described by some as toxic, is deteriorating rapidly. The worse it gets, the more we hear about the conflation of speech and action, that words lead to violence, and that government should step in.
How serious are the problems around modern political discourse, such as trolling and de-platforming, and what is the best way to bring about constructive discussions on controversial topics?
This event was recorded live in London on October 12, 2018.
“Kill by Laughter”: Humor in The Fountainhead and Its 21st-Century Relevance
The Fountainhead is the novel in which Ayn Rand’s conception of humor (good and bad) comes across most clearly. The novel begins: “Howard Roark laughed.” Yet the villain Ellsworth Toohey, presenting his recipe for achieving power, recommends that we “kill by laughter.” This lecture discusses humor in The Fountainhead and the prevalence of the bad kind of humor in today’s culture.
The characters in The Fountainhead have differing views of what is important in life. The more sympathetic characters differ in the significance they place on the vices or inadequacies they observe in other people and in the culture at large. Dr. Salmieri explores the novel’s treatment of this issue and elaborates on Howard Roark’s distinctive perspective (which Dominique Francon comes to share).
This panel discussion centers on the impact of philosophy on a person’s life, wrestling with topics ranging from the sovereignty of the individual to the nature of human consciousness to how values are derived from facts. This discussion took place on July 1, 2018, at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018 in Newport Beach, California.
In his new book What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Elan Journo explains the essential nature of this pivotal conflict, what has fueled it for so long, and America’s actual stake in the region. In this introductory talk delivered at Objectivist
Why would anyone be optimistic today? Given the state of politics and our culture, and what we see on the news, it can be difficult not to have a negative view of the future. In this talk, delivered at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018, Yaron Brook says that contrary to popular belief, we ought to look forward to the future. By introspecting and putting the present day in its proper historical context, Brook argues, we have very good reason to be optimistic.