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Ego strengthening vs. ego transcendence (Rush and Rand)


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Altered-State Lyrics

Probably the best way to view Rand's influence on Rush is in an increasingly paradoxical, farther removed, ironic sense. In Fly By Night (which refers to tripping all night), the Rand/egoism references were sincere. Caress of Steel was concerned with ego death, not egoism; moving all the way forward into full egoism leads ultimately to ego death (failure of the logic of self-control and the inner helmsman). Bastille Day is a warning that the ego as an apparently governing inner entity will fall as surely as the aristocratic government fell: "the ego is deluded and doomed". By 2112, the Rand influence was fairly ironic and paradoxical, and after that, either fully ironic, or abandoned and disowned.

What was discovered in the Discovery in 2112? Electric guitar, acid-rock guitar, LSD, ego independence, ego death, ego transcendence. Full realization of Rand/ego, yet upon its heels, necessarily, the downfall and transcendence of that metaphysically deluded cognitive structure.

Rand would be perturbed with the lyrics of Rush. Rush has a complex relationship with Rand and likes to play around with her themes in paradoxical ways. Rush is a mystic yet rational band. One of the key points that transpersonal psychologist Ken Wilber makes about ego is that when ego is developed to its fullest, this development leads to the mind transcending the ego, which involves dying to the identification of the whole mind and identity with the particular mental construct of ego. Ego is largely illusory and a transitional stage of identification. The development of ego leads to the death of ego, but not to the destruction of ego. Rand's concern is to affirm the ego. Wilber's concern and the rational mystic's concern is to affirm the ego, and transcend the ego, and preserve the ego while ceasing to identify with it and be limited to its worldview.

If your goal is to develop ego, and LSD or advanced meditation is your tool toward this goal, you will eventually arrive at ego death, although along the way, you will have developed ego to its full fruition and will in some sense maintain that fully developed ego.

If your goal is to transcend ego, the only way to do that is through full development of the ego and full development of rationality. If you try to transcend ego by destroying, rejecting, condemning, denying, and hating ego, you will fail to transcend ego, and you will fail to secure the egoic level of mental development -- you would regress to a more primitive, pre-ego level of development.

Rush plays with the tension between developing and honoring ego, a la Rand, and seeing through and moving beyond ego in ego death, a la the mystics. You can only achieve the mystic goal if you achieve the Randian goal -- but the mystic goal in some ways contradicts the Randian goal, just as full development and blossoming of ego leads directly to ego death and ego transcendence.

Rush plays with all aspects of experiencing ego death and the loss of ego's power of control and power of self-control. King Ego, as an inner ruling entity, dies as we bid farewell to the inner king as on the cover of Farewell to Kings, which means farewell to ego and farewell to Rand. Rand is the ego level and does not like or understand the transcendent level, but only perceives it as a threat. The transcendent level is a threat to ego, to the ego delusion. After battling and moving through this threat, the mind retains ego as a tool and a convention, not as an identity taken as real.

Rand is a teething toy, ego is training wheels, looking back from the point of view of the enlightened veteran tripper. The album 2112 is dedicated not simply to "Ayn Rand", but to "the genius of Ayn Rand" -- that is, to her illusory, inner homunculus, lost in infinite regression -- to the deluded false ego, the ego/controller illusion within Ayn Rand's deluded mind. It's a complex dedication, equivalent to saying the album is dedicated to "the spirit of Ayn Rand", but even more subtle and richer in overtones.

From Webster's:
genius -- an attendant spirit of a person or place. A person who influences another for good or bad. A peculiar, distinctive, or identifying character or spirit. A personification or embodiment of a quality or condition. Spirit, jinn. A person endowed with transcendent mental superiority. A tutelary deity of a place. The pervading spirit of a place.

Rand was a good economic counter-socialist, which was her driving concern, but a poor theorist of psychological development, who was radically closed-minded toward any form of religion or mystic insight. Insofar as any mystic insight or any religious experience is legitimate, Rand makes a profound mistake in her absoluteness of rejecting all aspects of religion or mysticism, and her system of philosophy is unnecessarily limited. She was too single-mindedly focused on battling socialism for her philosophy to have a broad, legitimate scope, especially in the areas of advanced cognitive development and religious experiencing. Since she believed religion was one of the two greatest criminals (along with raw political power), she should have developed a more detailed, subtle, and complete understanding of religion rather than dwelling only on the abuses of religion.

Some Rush lyrics dwell on the self-destruction and failure of ego, and some uphold and fortify the ego. These some themes, in tension, are prominent in Metallica's album _Ride the Lightning_, as well. (On the liner notes of their next album, _Master of Puppets_, Metallica thanked, among others, "Geddy, Alex, Neil of Rush".)

Hemispheres is about balance, as opposed to Rand. Rand is profoundly un-balanced. Ultimately, she is comically unbalanced, and Peart (the lyricist/theorist/philosopher/tripper of Rush) ends up making fun of her even as he partly agrees with her. All ego, no transcendence. She does not lack love or heart, but rather, transcendence of ego.

Rand is the mother of Peart, and he loves her, but has moved beyond her and cut the apron strings, moving out of the secure deludedness of the house of Ego.

We have clarified our disagreeing views! Both of us have some legitimate points, and we don't entirely disagree. To reconcile our views would take lots of research and data that is hard to come by. Hendrix wouldn't have created such great, innovative music without drugs. You think otherwise. Who knows? With drugs illegalized, and thus placed outside of feasible scientific research, there is no way to systematically test and research the relationship between drugs and creative output, so views on the subject can only be based on guesses and impressions from limited experience. At this point, I can only draw my own conclusion that drugs have to some degree hindered as well as helped creative production. And you know that I still claim to be able to support my assertion that Rush has tapped into some of the positive inspiration that is one of the many effects of drugs -- especially the psychedelic discovered by Albert Hofmann in 1943. But it would take a long paper or a book to adequately build up and support this case.

To make the case that Rush is largely acid rock would involve listing out the effects of psychedelics and citing several sources to support this catalog of effects. Then I would have to present the Rush lyrics and show how dense and clear the allusions to these same psychedelic phenomena are, and I would have to show that most other bands' lyrics do not contain such a deliberate quantity of such turns-of-phrase. And I would show that Rush is not unique in these turns-of-phrase; I would start with _Rubber Soul_ by the Beatles and move through the most exemplary songs and albums by other bands, showing that, as implied by the dictionary entry for 'acid rock', there is indeed an identifiable genre or standardized technique of using double-entendres to unmistakably encode allusions to the psychological and perceptual phenomena that occur in the mystic altered state. I would also have to show that mystics report the same phenomena as are triggered by psychedelics. The better I write this article, the more firmly I could establish my view as plausible and likely.

Rand is the deluded rational ego, alienated from mystic insight into ego's distortions

>Rand is a philosophical hack. How can you critique someone who is so rabid as to refuse reading other people? In response to an interviewer who asked her at one point: "Have you read 'X' author?", she said: "No, because X is trash, and what's more, I will NEVER read X because of this".

Rand is dogmatically closed-minded about mysticism. Just because she has seen mysticism used in ways she politically disagrees with, she dismisses all of mysticism and any possibility that there might be any truth in it. Peart is very aware of this crucial ignorance in Rand's attitude toward the ego, which is a major factor in his interest about Rand. She is so absolutely, blindly in love with the ego, and so untainted by any degree of awareness of mystic transcendence of the ego, that she, and not the enlightenment philosophers, is the most appropriate representative of the development of the ego to the extreme height of delusion. She so absolutely rejects all forms of religion and even mysticism, that she becomes a symbol of confident delusion and gullibility in the semi-illusion of the ego. She, not the enlightenment philosophers, becomes the absolute ego -- to whom Peart issues a grave warning of impending doom in "Bastille Day", "No One at the Bridge", "The Body Electric", "The Enemy Within", and many other songs.

Peart's support of egoism has the caveat that ego's power is only virtual

In the songs "Bastille Day" and "No One at the Bridge", on the album _Caress of Steel_ by Rush, the lyricist Neil Peart cancels out the ego as homunculus steersman and the ego as ruling king, respectively. The fact that he cancelled out the ego in these songs proves that he was far beyond Rand's philosophy of simple egoism by the time of _Caress_. She could never have entertained the thought of the self-cancellation of the ego through the mystic encounter with ultimate logic and reason. But Peart knew from experience that this was the astonishing path that reason leads down.

Rand hated mysticism. Peart was so fascinated with her; she offered him a contradicatory perspective. Peart already knew, with the fullest intensity of experience combined with supranormal intellect, that the ego is in some essential way, illusory. And then, he read Rand, with her excellent anti-collectivist points about the deadly danger of destroying ego the way that collectivism does. The ego must actually be upheld, not destroyed, in order to transcend it. When he put together his comprehension of ego death and Rand's wisdom about the crucial treasures of ego, it was a philosophical explosion of ideas and insight.

He was essentially enlightened before Rand, but came to properly cherish and truly understand the necessary role of ego only after reading Rand.

The mystic death of King Ego; Randian ego affirmation vs. ego transcendence

On the development of Rush philosophy from _Fly by Night_ to _Farewell to Kings_. The albums are:

Actually it's slightly more complex than "first Peart was enlightened into an unrefined ego death, then he discovered Rand and ran into the interesting contradiction that she points out the undeniable vitality of ego, and out of that contradiction, philosophical insights exploded in a great outpouring."

Notice that Fly by Night is a Rand album, with Anthem. Where is Rand on Caress? She returns on 2112. Caress, in between, conjoins the political and philosophical Enlightenment with the mystic enlightenment of ego death, or satori. Caress strongly emphasizes ego death, both in Bastille and in No One, and does not glorify Rand, except that STILL I AM, which is an affirmation of her Anthem.

Studying Rand helped him build up and strengthen his ego, which was necessary for him ever to transcend the ego. You must build the ego up to sufficient strength before you can truly transcend it. Reading Rand helped him transcend ego, by so magnifying it and highlighting it, and exagerrating ego, that its problematic nature arose: how does one control one's own ego, which is largely concerned with self-steering or self-control?

Reading Rand was interleaved with his early and peak mystic experiences. I think he was still building his ego up in Fly by Night, through reading Rand, and that he achieved enlightenment during Caress, while continuing to study and reflect upon the idea of egoism and bombard it with its own logic until its core logical inconsistencies were forced out into the light of day. Only through interrogating the logic of egoism could he experience the most glorious, astonishing psychological phenomenon: guidance systems breakdown, in which you are logically forced to bow down, defeated. The Peart steersman homunculus had to admit the defeat of its natural logic, and cry out for a compassionate controller outside the system to pull his strings in the future-Neil's actions in the future.

King Peart made a Discovery that he always was, as all kings are in some way, a puppet of the divine dancing on the strings of time, forced to choose, forced to steer his ship this way and that, and into the maelstrom that forces Realization and makes you wake up - no one is around inside my head, at least not in the way it seemed. His perception of this status of being a robotic player was enabled through Rand's sharp portrayal of ego-power which caught and held his rapt attention, as the universal fatedness brought him to itself. What a fatal tragedy, this ego death, but still I am -- the ego was preserved, and now transcended. Afterwards, he gave credit to Rand for helping to build up and preserve his ego even through the storm in which he was ill-equipped to act, tied helpless to the mast of time, that ticking trap. He really couldn't have done it without her, without his sufficiently strong ego-structures. The confused logic of ego's self-control remains, but now, with a caveat. King Ego has kneeled, to let his kingdom rise.

Peart's philosophical development: egoism, then also mystic ego death, then also heart

This is about the philosophy of the rock group Rush, led by Neil Peart. Their album sequence:

o Rush (sans Peart; doesn't count)
o Fly by Night - 1974
o Caress of Steel - 1975
o 2112 - 1976
o Hemispheres - 1977

Consider the development of Peart's philosophy over time. Rational egoism, and even mystic ego transcendence in itself, still leave the heart out, and Peart addressed that after _2112_.

There are two polarities Peart presents, in different songs:

Egoism vs. mystic ego death
Heart vs. mind

Mind and egoism are essentially the same, so we can flip around the second polarity and write:

Egoism/mind vs. mystic ego death
Egoism/mind vs. heart

You could generalize as "egoism/mind vs. the other part of personal existence". This "other part" can be seen as heart, or as mystic ego death, or the two as distinct parts, neither of which is egoism/mind.

Paritcularly if you interpret "heart" as "the heart of our real inner being", "heart" becomes an alternative to egoism -- heart = real self, rather than false ego.

The real alternatives he explores can thus be generalized as the following alternative sets:

  1. Egoism, false ego, mind (not fully developed), reason, 1-sided rationality
  2. Heart, real self, mystic ego death, ego transcendence, vision-logic, highest Reason, balanced rationality

As in personal development in the theory of transpersonal psychology, Peart begins with egoism, then adds mystic ego death/ ego transcendence, then adds heart. He moved through the follow phases of emphasis, by album:

  1. Egoism (Fly by Night)
  2. Mystic ego death (Caress of Steel, 2112)
  3. Heart/balance (Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres)
  4. Mystic ego death, with less dwelling on heart (Permaent Waves, Moving Pictures, Signals, Grace under Pressure).

I generally accept the concept of balancing the 'heart' and 'mind'. But I must make the caveat that I don't hold the standard view of hemispheres as "deluded mind vs. enlightened heart." It is a grave error to equate mystic experiencing with a diffuse loving feeling, awakening the heart. As a philosopher, I uniquely hold the position that mystic knowledge is fully rational, and that the mystic discovery is exactly the same type of rational discovery as Einstein's conceptual shift in discovering relativity. This assertion can wreak havoc with understanding my views about integrating mind and heart. Enlightenment is of the mind, first of all; only secondarily is it enlightenment of 'the heart' (whatever that term refers to). I might overstate this slightly, but that is necessary because everyone thinks that enlightenment is anti-mind, when it is actually rational (as much as anything is rational). Perhaps Peart discovers the heart during _Hemispheres_. Nevertheless, he was fully enlightened long before that.

"No One at the Bridge" proves that Peart was enlightened in 1975. Any later spiritual insights about integration of heart and mind were merely elaboration and completion of the core understanding that he had even prior to _2112_.

He always had much more than what Rand ever could have given him. He tells about the overthrow of King Ego in "Bastille Day". Metallica and Ozzy have songs that prop up the ego higher than ever, almost exagerrating it, but also other songs that go beyond the ego into ego death, ego cancellation, and ego transcendence. Transpersonal Psychologist Ken Wilber says that "you have to develop an ego strong enough to die." After this, the ego is stronger than ever, yet the mind does not identify with it. The ego becomes strengthened but re-conceived as partly illusory.

"Bastille Day" is a pun on the political 'Enlightenment' that gave birth to the ego, conflating that with the mystic 'englightenment' that in some ways cancels out and transcends the ego. It is a beacon and a warning: "look over here, the ego is a temporary structure of psychological identification; it is not, as Rand says, the final stop." Or, "Alert! Alert! Ego Death is nigh!"

The healthy way to transcend ego, unlike collectivism, is to see through its illusory aspect while still affirming the sovereignity of the ego and the legitimacy of its political and social independence. In "Anthem" and at the end of _Caress_, Peart raises the ego on a pedestal. But in "Bastille Day" and in "No One at the Bridge", he cancels out the ego as homunculus steersman and the ego as ruling king, respectively. The fact that he cancelled out the ego in these songs proves that he was far beyond Rand's philosophy by the time of _Caress of Steel_.

She could never have entertained the thought of the self-cancellation of the ego through the mystic encounter with ultimate logic and reason. But Peart knew from experience that this was the astonishing path that reason leads down.

Some of my concepts or arguments might be perpendicular to yours, like the way I group "reason" and "mystic enlightenment" and "ego death" all together, leaving nothing but the heart on the other hemisphere! I have stolen enlightenment from the heart and given it to the mind. In other words, I build my basic categories differently than everyone else.

Another way that Peart transcended Rand was that he is a poetic visionary musician with strong aesthetic sense. Rand's _The Romantic Manifesto_ has 35 pages about music (chapter 4), including the emotional dimension.

Does Peart really believe that Rand is unbalanced, biased toward mind to the exclusion of something? She excludes mysticism, certainly. Does she exclude heart? I think these are two separate questions, because mysticism is distinct from heart. I do not want mysticism to be lumped with the heart on the other side of the divide from the mind. Really, my problem goes too deep for this email: I have a problem with the standard conception of Apollo as "mind" versus Dionysius as "heart". Well I'll work out my categories some more on my own. I would not say that Peart was wholly a Rand-oriented promoter of mind at first, and then later, joined it together with "heart and mysticism", because he already had mysticism in _Caress_, and "No One at the Bridge" is clearly about the Dionysian maelstrom. That song is Dionysian, but I would not say it is "heart" oriented.

The mysticism that Rand hates is bunk mysticism, not true mysticism. This is very understandable. Mysticism is still greatly misunderstood.

_Fly by Night_ is heavily packed with allusions to the altered state. The title almost certainly refers to an all-night LSD session. Also the dilation of the pupils resonates with the night-owl's eyes.

The expression "I experimented with acid" has become propaganda-speak, which I reject. It's a cliche, cop-out, or distortion -- a waffling euphemism. People take acid. Neil must have taken not a little acid, but truckloads, from _Fly by Night_ through _Grace Under Pressure_, if not beyond ("don't swallow the poison"). In Red Barchetta he mentions breaking the law every Sunday, implying that he dosed once a week as a form of religious activity, in routine violation of the "benevolent priests" such as Father Brown. _Caress of Steel_ is packed with double-entendres and allusions - every single song. Based on my pretty rigorous survey of specific lyric themes on the lyric site, I've concluded that the only other albums with as dense allusions are _Ride the Lightning_ by Metallica, and _Diary of a Madman_, by Ozzy Osbourne. No rock album has more allusions to the altered state phenomena than _Caress_.

My favorite allusion in Caress is "cask of '43" - the year of Discovery of LSD. "The waves roll by so fast" -- "as I reach the final few" (steps at the top of the mountain of enlightenment). I think that the greatest proof of his enlightenment is "No One at the Bridge" which is practically a catalog of mystic phenomena and revelations about the nature of self-control cybernetics. "Lakeside Park" is a nice song about being in the park. On LSD. "So many memories", "24th of May" (egoic independence day) "the key to heaven's door" "merry-go-round" "flashing rides" "watch the fireworks display" "sitting in the sand" "midway lights". Nearly every verse contains key phrases that just happen to match LSD phenomena of fragmented, shifting cognition, the spiritual 3rd eye, and cancellation of will and ego-power. "his dread power", "hunger for freedom", "stripped of will", "helplessly they bow, defeated". No rock album has more allusions; only a handful have so many. He didn't invent this art of encoding, but he fully carried through what the Beatles first demonstrated on _Rubber Soul_ in 1965 and what the other psychedelic and acid rock lyricists dabbled in.

Any Rush fan must have and study the 12" fancy LP covers. You cannot receive the signals without these large fold-outs in front of you -- particularly _Caress of Steel_, which opens up like a book with the text in gothic font printed on rough stone, which waves at you during a session of night flying.

Acid raises problems, or points out the problematic nature of ego, perception, time, self-concept, and self-control. But full enlightenment requires a lot of subtle thinking on these things. Not simple, but rather, subtle, like relativity. It is true that the altered state has different properties than the default state. The challenge is to bridge the two with a single, integrated conceptual system. This takes a lot of thinking and research. Fortunately, my research includes improvising on the electric guitar and listening to top-notch rock music, as well as reading nonfiction works on philosophy, religion, psychology, and other subjects.

Rand lacked mystic understanding (which is believe is rational). I agree that she emphasizes reason to the exclusion of heart. But I distrust "heart" as much as her; that is, I place my bets on reason, which I am more sure of. "Heart" is just too vague -- I can't even grasp what the term is supposed to refer to. "The Dionysian", "food, wine, and drink", "emotion", "elan vital" -- those are more specific concepts. I guess "heart" means these. Yet I know the heart's trials of despair and mourning for hope and purpose, all too well.

Rand lacks mystic understanding and is shy on heart. But Peart had already discovered the mystic understanding that transcends Rand while he was heavily aligned with Rand, and got the heart, distinct from enlightenment, after he had gone as far with her philosophy as it could go.

Rand's philosophy of individual freedom and ethics

Ayn Rand's philosophy about egoic ethics of individual freedom is a reaction against collectivism and its ethical system as Kant expressed it (live for the good of others, and disparage yourself), in favor of individual political and moral freedom (each member of the community should live as an individual who is an end in himself).

Rand vs. radical relativism

Ayn Rand said "A is A" a lot, countering the Nazi or Weimar doctrine that "A is whatever we collectively agree that it is". She is an anti-dogmatist against the epistemological nihilism of early 20th century German philosophy. She is an anti-Nazi by countering the philosophy that took hold in Germany and in some ways led up to the Nazis and death camps. This is grippingly laid out in Leonard Piekoff's book _The Ominous Parallels_. There is a huge objectivism newsgroup -- it's the happening philosophy among technology mavens, or technocrats. See any of the Rand books in the philosophy section. They are very, very popular.

Many New Agers think that being enlightened means smiling and having an empty head full of heart, that enlightenment is a mood. Alan Watts, however, portrays bodisattvas as full-blooded, complex beings who may well take the food from a starving man and drive off with the farmer's ox. They scream when they are stabbed. They feel sorry for themselves and are anxious.

Rand as ego-promoter rather than psychologist of economic motivation

It does not matter whether Rand is a philosopher worth studying or whether Objectivism a system of philosophy worth studying -- the point is, for whatever reason, Rand is gung-ho about the ego. (The specific reason is that "the ego" here is conceived of as self-interest, a self-interest which is mandatory in the psychology of economic motivation.)

American and British philosophers think that real philosophy is analytic philosophy.

Continental philosophers think that real philosophy is critical theory and learned social commentary.

Rand is the a popular philosopher these days, a superstar among the Wired crowd. But she stands off on her own. She and the establishment are not on speaking terms. She is not considered relevant.

Rand's crowd overemphasizes political economy. As soon as Rand is mentioned, people leap into a midst of debate about political economics. But it would be more profitable to examine why there is such an emphasis and character to her work. Does it make sense to build a system of philosophy on a foundation of political economics? If this is not in fact what Rand did, everyone seems to think that that was her emphasis and in fact her sole concern. People debate about Rand's political economics as though it is the whole or the soul of her entire body of work.

If you could drastically de-emphasize the political economy aspect of Rand, what would be left? Egoic drive for acquisition, as a powerful engine for material progress. And reason as a support framework for higher thinking.

>Whether the philosophy of Ayn Rand is "real" is, in large part empty. It would depend on how you define 'philosophy'. There are many uses of the word. I went through my Ayn Rand stage when I was in college. I devoured her one liners on such important figures as Kant and Plato. I accepted them on faith. I now have a Masters degree in Philosophy and it is apparent that Rand either did not read the major thinkers or she simply did not understand them. Kant was not a mystic, in fact it is because of him that we are so skeptical about philosophical proofs concerning the existence of God. As for Descartes demon; he uses this as an epistemological tool for the purpose of getting at certain foundations of knowledge. Can we have certain knowledge of mathematics? Know, because God could be an evil demon, tricking us into thinking that 4-2=2. Descartes however did believe in a benevolent God, but to characterize him simply as a mystic is to fail to appreciate his overall philosophy and specifically, his epistemology.

With a reasonably broad definition of philosophy, which allows that different philosophers have different main or driving interests, and different approaches to "philosophy", I think Rand can be considered a real philosopher. That's not to say that she is correct in any main or peripheral assertions, or that she provides an ideal model for "the" philosophical pursuit.

I'm interested in high mystic experiencing and bursts of insight into human nature and insights in distorted conceptual systems about ego and self-control. I feel that this experiential, breathtaking mode of philosophy is obviously the true fountain and heartland of Philosophy. I feel that these interests are the squealing black obelisque transmitting its powerful, tangible message of discontinuous human evolution, driving us through pulses of pure epiphany. Anything else is just a substitute for this one real dimension of genuine Philosophy. But I must admit that there are other areas that command respect but are only faintly relevant to my favored dimension of philosophy, the fundamental shifting of individual self-concept.

Even if all areas of philosophy are potentially connected, they remain distinct. If we become completely enlightened about our nature, there remain yet other vistas of philosophy. Ayn Rand's arena of concern is political philosophy, especially individualism and individual motivation as against collectivism. Whether she does a good job of thinking about this arena of concerns is another issue.

Randian anti-existentialism, rock mysticism, and egoism

acid rock (n.) -- Rock music with lyrics that suggest psychedelic experiences. The American Heritage Dictionary.

A lot of rock artists and listeners used various drugs including LSD in the 70s. Peart is a long-haired hippie freak musician: look at the pictures. Unless you have reason to believe otherwise, you can assume that any classic hard rock artist in the 70s used LSD to some degree. Not only is the assumption that Peart used LSD reasonable, it's likely, just considering the classic hard-rock culture of the mid-70s.

The spirit of Rand's philosophy is that of a closed-minded dogma, a counter-dogma to to that of radical relativism, radical idealism, and radical skepticism.

>A dominant form of mysticism and Platonistic philisophy in Western civilization is existentialism and its many variations such as Gestaltism, trancendental meditation, Zen Bhuddism, and altered states. Existentialism is nothing more than clever irrationalism, often cloaked in pragmatic non-sequiturs or good-sounding rationalizations. For that reason, existentialism is impossible to understand CLEARLY. For it means nothing. Expressed in countless different ways, existentialism is the philosohical form projected by most media commentators, almost all politicians and theologians, social "intellectuals" including many teachers university professors, and know-nothing personalities and entertainers acting as "authorities" on the basis of feeling rather than knowledge.

That sounds like an excerpt from Rand, with the signature Rand tone of confident generalization. I'm not clear on the connection between existentialism with mysticism. Most major aspects of existentialism seem to agree with Rand. I don't know the motivation behind Sartre's existialism very well. He wanted people to confront their position of freedom in its fullness and not try to escape it through the usual evasions: those evasions being mystic puppethood, fatedness, inherited concensus morality, divine commandment, and determinism. You are condemned to be free, now that God is dead, and there is no way that you can truthfully escape that fact of your situation. (Of course existential freedom is no threat whatsoever to mystic unfreedom, if there is a hidden level of events underlying the sense of freedom, which there very well could be.)

In what way does mysticism (or some form of mysticism) spawn existentialism (or some form or existentialism)? Or how are they linked?

>In the past five decades, those four groups of people have effectively spread existentialism among the nonproductive elements of society. More recently, those same groups are successfully pushing existentialism onto the working middle class. As a result, the worker's productivity and self- esteem diminish as they increasingly swap their EARNED happiness and freedom for the exitentialistic ideas of mysticism, egalitarianism, and altruism. Their surrender of self- responsibility and self-control opens the way for increasing government repression and control.

This sounds so much like 1940s-style anti-socialism: "The Workers".

Existentialism has nothing to do with altruism. It's more about exaggeratedly solipsistic freedom.

>Many people are drawn into the chameleon-like forms of existentialism through an assortment of highly publicized, illusionary benefits designed to suit almost anyone's taste. Touted benefits include discovering "real truth", "peace of mind", "happiness", new "freedoms", "self-awareness", increased "sensitivity", "discovery" of one's true self, and a wide variety of health and nutritional "benefits". Other

I haven't run across this marketing of existentialism yet. But I am sure that the books I've read fail to portray the pop existentialist movement simply and clearly. At one extreme, existentialism tends toward nihilism; if I create my own meaning, then there must be no innate or genuine meaning.

>benefits touted by groups such as Scientologists include various mystical routes to "freedom" and "happiness" through self-awareness via clearing hang-ups or engrams. But beneath all such jargon and claimed benefits, exitentialism is based on irrationality through nnegation of reality.

In its solipsistic extremes, existentialism does tend to match radical idealism -- "there is no real reality, only our created reality."

>Existenialism and religion both grow from mysticism, and both lead to the oppression of the individual.

I've never heard that existentialism grew from mysticism. That would be an interesting argument to see.
Mysticism has been connected with oppression and authoritarianism.

>Existentialism and religion both reflect fear of the independent individual

Existentialism promotes the independent, fully free individual in the face of the terror of being on your own to choose and value, with no God to fall back to, and no necessary guidelines to guide you, and nothing to motivate you -- not even the supposed "desire to live" or "fear of death".

>and even greater fear of individual pride. Most mystics

I don't know if existentialism could be said to fear or praise 'pride'.

>denounce pride as negative, bad, or sinful. Individual pride

That's true. Everyone is down on the Great Evil of Pride. They are obsessed with pride. I just don't get what they think is so bad about pride. The only thing wrong with the pride of the ego is that pride is partly illusory or distorted, along with the ego.

>is the result of moral virtue, which requires the rejection of the dishonesty inherent in mysticism. Pride is the reflection of self-worth, which requires the negation of mysticism. And that

True mysticism aims to preserve the self-structure, as a cognitive structure that can be used as a tool, while seeing through and beyond this conventional semi-illusion. Progressive, as opposed to regressive, mysticism does not simply "negate" self-worth. Mysticism increases self-worth, in a way, while cancelling self-worth, in a way.

>negation or rejection of mysticism through the reflection of self-worth is what all mystics, existentialists, and religious zealots fear and attack.

>There exists on this planet a range of human experience so vast, that to dismiss out of hand a philosphical system or method of thinking, is a crime of the highest order. Even if one does not agree with another's point of view, that point of view can still be appreciated, even revered, as a part of the total human experience.

Openmindedness, which people attempt to set up in opposition to the hegemony of "the narrow-minded Western perspective," is actually a distinctive mark of Western Enlightenment thinking, created by dead, white, Western males. Insofar as you and I share the assumptions of what rational argumentation requires, we assume the attitude you describe.

I reject vague, vapid, emotion-dominated "spirituality" and promote rationality-dominated, technology-influenced "mysticism" as expressed by "The Body Electric". I think Rush got married and fondled crystals too much in the digital 80s and didn't do nearly enough LSD. Leave it to the young, sturdy frontiersmen such as Metallica and Trent Resnor of Nine Inch Nails. At least some more recent lyricists have not forgotten the lyric encoding techniques, and have acknowledged the practical key to heaven's door.

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