A question for Ayn Randians

If there is no such thing as a collective mind or collective conscious, then how do we have things like encyclopedias?

we have a collective brain…
brains are hard-wired for survival and reproduction…

I’m not an ayn-randian, but let me venture a guess: someone writes them.

Also, I’m kinda wondering what conception of “collective conscious” Ayn Randians argue against and what conception you’re arguing for. There’s a good chance you’re not even thinking of the same thing as them, you just call them by the same name.

oh, i didn’t even think of that. thanks.

“The mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain … no such thing as a collective thought …” - Howard Rourk on trial in Fountainhead

that’s got to be one of the most blatantly incorrect (not to mention fairly stupid) things i’ve read in a while

the entirety of the monologue can be found in all it’s glorious naivete here:

nasonart.com/personal/lifele … nhead.html

I don’t think it’s stupid at all.

There have been cases of conjoined twins who share brain parts and thoughts, but in general brains are physically and mentally separate from each other. The quotation is meant to be taken in a literal sense.

No doubt we can share our thoughts with each other (but not directly, you can’t think what I think) and record and compile them in encyclopedias, but consciousness and mental life is personal. It is only immediately, automatically, and directly experienced by an individual – twins conjoined at the head being the only exception I can think of.

gizmodo.com/#!5682758/the-fascin … and-senses

Fuse - maybe we should look to a standard text for the answer.

Like The Acme Book of Cool Ideas. Not a standard text, you say? What would make it a standard text?

Yes, that is a trick question.

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Can you decide with just your own brain what a standard text is?

I read the context. I don’t see how that argument implies that encyclopaedia are impossible.

This is a really important question, btw. Seems like it was just ignored though :stuck_out_tongue: If you’re not even talking about the same concept, how do you know you disagree?

What is a standard text?

A text which has been standardized. Does one person create a text, call it “standard”, and wait for the buyers to come rolling in?

“Fake it til you make it”

Does popular opinion form in a collective mind?

a single brain did not arrive at all the knowledge compiled in the encyclopedia - it is the result of countless minds working together and working off of one another - the notion that the mind is solely an attribute of the individual makes no sense - the mind is couched in languages the individual did not invent, facts the individual did not determine, skills learned through the mimicking of others, experiences gained second and thirdhand, beliefs imparted by parents and teachers and authors of books, aesthetic preferences shaped by culture and society - i would say the individual’s actual contribution to his/her own mind is actually pretty small. the vast majority of what is known by a given individual is imparted and learned from others.

well, doesn’t it?

i didn’t ignore it - i quoted and posted links to exactly what i disagreed with

part of the reason i asked the question in the OP was to get a better sense of wtf it could possibly mean (to an Ayn Randian) to say that there is no such thing as a collective mind - i am trying to better figure out what concept of mind Rand is working with, because it seems so foreign to me that thought would be considered solely something that an individual does in isolation . . .

I agree with your points, but to be fair people have a sense of identity - these are my thoughts, they seem to correspond to my body, when someone argues a point with me I feel insulted, etc. Though I might feel insulted if someone makes fun of my family or my country or my race, the “location” of the insult is firmly associated with what I consider to be “me” - i.e. this body, this mind. Does a family, or a country, have this same sense of identity, in a way that isn’t just the sum total of individual minds? I think it’s a hard sell to say there is a group mind or collective conscious in this sense.

Yet what you’re saying is correct, and points to how we place too much emphasis on this “individual mind” - this sense of identity and independence. Rand and her followers take this misguided idea to its absurd limits.

Well said!