Saturday, July 29, 2006

My Body, My Self

A week or two ago, I found this philosophy quiz online. Here were my results at the time:

1. Kant (100%)
2. Ayn Rand (98%)
3. John Stuart Mill (98%)
4. Aquinas (94%)
5. Jean-Paul Sartre (83%)
6. Jeremy Bentham (77%)
7. St. Augustine (76%)
8. Aristotle (72%)
9. Spinoza (70%)
10. Stoics (66%)
11. Plato (64%)
12. Epicureans (52%)
13. Prescriptivism (48%)
14. Cynics (39%)
15. Ockham (39%)
16. Nel Noddings (38%)
17. Nietzsche (35%)
18. David Hume (30%)
19. Thomas Hobbes (13%)

98% Ayn Rand? I thought I had exorcised that ghost in late high school/early college.

But, like all online quizes, I went back and took it again and got completely different results:


1. Kant (100%)
2. John Stuart Mill (97%)
3. Aristotle (91%)
4. Jeremy Bentham (89%)
5. Ayn Rand (86%)
6. Aquinas (83%)
7. Epicureans (80%)
8. Stoics (74%)
9. Jean-Paul Sartre (71%)
10. Spinoza (70%)
11. Prescriptivism (64%)
12. Nietzsche (58%)
13. Ockham (58%)
14. Cynics (53%)
15. St. Augustine (46%)
16. David Hume (44%)
17. Plato (43%)
18. Thomas Hobbes (40%)
19. Nel Noddings (38%)

Alright, not so different. Kant and John Stuart Mill remained in top positions, but Ayn was bumped down a bit. I mean, The Fountainhead was a good read, but I can't accept that 98% of my philosophy is reflected in it. I skipped the 90 pages of the 120 page lecture in Atlas Shrugged after I realized John Galt was just presenting different metaphors and was making one, and only one, point. Also, can someone please explain why there seemed to be more men than women in AS, so that there were something like 5 men all vying for Dagny's hand? It's obnoxious and sexist, while simultaneously coming across as ridiculous fantasy along the lines of "in a perfect world, all the attractive, strong men will fall for women whose values and work ethic correspond to theirs directly and won't desire the other women out there." A sad tragedy of Ayn Rand's life was she constantly presented one physical constant for her heroes--angular aryan mesomorphs with chiseled features--and another for her villains--short squat shifty swarthy endomorphs--and guess which physical constant she more closely resembled? Yes, it totally bites when you stake out such an importance in the physical and it just so happens that you look like your villains. You had better hope those really cute boys look past your face and see your mind. Not that I blame Ayn for this. I tend to ascribe moral attributes based upon physical ones. Or rather, I tend to see a connection between the physical and the spiritual. But nothing so obvious or extreme as Aynie's and when I get around to creating my very own philosophy (and cult) I hope to be a bit more subtle about it.

See, this sort of digression would get me kicked out of Objectivist Kaffeeklatsches, regardless of what some online test says about my philosophy.

Of course, I criticise Ayn for seeming to populate her ideal world with more men than women and, yet, she is the only female on the list of philosophers with whom my philosophy corresponds. And she is the only one I actually take the time to critique. This isn't because I don't have opinions about the life of Sartre, Nietzsche, or St. Augustine. I do. But none of their writings have actually stuck in my mind the way that Ayn Rand's has. I don't occasionally reference the Ubermensch in conversation. My mom doesn't save me aricles they find about the personal life of John Stuart Mill. I haven't befriended coworkers based on their interest in Thomas Hobbes. Which means that 1) Ayn Rand's influence on me has been far greater than I may want to give her credit and 2) my fall reading list is apparently set.

2 Comments:

Blogger Lostcheerio said...

I think we all tried to exorcise those Ayn Rand ghosts in high school and college, but they keep coming back, don't they? It's good to be able to access all that superiority and vocab when you want to deliver a rant about how retarded everyone was at some event or other.

9:48 PM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous hed said...

Ha. Oh, Alison. Always insisting on equality for people who aren't Howard Roark! Ridiculous! You don't know what you want. Maybe being assaulted by a man you secretly desire will help you.

Ayn Rand probably subsidized her philosophical writing with the money she made writing romance novels. I'm glad they shared the same box when i took them to the used book store.

4:58 PM, August 04, 2006  

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