According to Ayn Rand, the theme of Atlas Shrugged is “the role of the mind in man’s existence.” In this session, we explore how Rand conveys her distinctive theory of free will, that the operation of the mind itself is volitional. In particular, we focus on a key conflict in the plot that is resolved only when one character realizes that the mind is volitional. Recorded live at OCON on June 27, 2019
Architecture is in a class of its own among the arts, combining utilitarian function and expressive power. How, though, can a building, which is nonrepresentational, convey meaning? In this lecture, Dr. Wood draws on Ayn Rand’s writings on architecture, including The Fountainhead and The Romantic Manifesto, to deepen our understanding of how great buildings concretize abstract values. The talk includes analyses of several works of world architecture from an Objectivist perspective.
This lecture was delivered on July 5, 2018 at OCON 2018.
Today, climate change is viewed in our culture as a crisis of unprecedented scale that is uniquely threatening and intractable. Yet if we explore the history of the environmentalist movement, we find a pattern of forecasting similar environmental catastrophes that failed to materialize. What is it about environmentalism that gives rise to this pattern of ailed predictions, and what lessons can we draw from them about today’s concerns related to climate and energy?
Recorded live at OCON on June 25, 2020.
Cultural observers have often noted that Europe — and, more broadly, Western civilization — despite historically unprecedented success, is in danger of losing itself. But what exactly is being lost, and why? And what can be done about it?
In a recent panel discussion entitled “What Is Killing Western Civilization?,” Yaron Brook (chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute) and Douglas Murray (author of The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam) met at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers lecture theatre in central London to discuss the future of Western civilization in the context of its own identity crisis and the growing trend of immigration to the West from those outside it — and, in some cases, hostile to it. The panel, moderated by Claire Fox (director and founder of Academy of Ideas), addressed such questions as:
- What is Western civilization?
- What is the nature of the crisis that the West faces?
- How should one think about immigration in today’s world?