YouTube / Blank on Blank
YouTube / Blank on Blank

Ayn Rand on Love and Happiness

YouTube / Blank on Blank
YouTube / Blank on Blank

Author Ayn Rand is famous for her philosophy of Objectivism, the germ of which was on display in her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. In 1959 (two years after Atlas Shrugged came out), Mike Wallace sat down with Rand to discuss her philosophy. Now, the good folks at Blank on Blank have put together an animated look at one segment of that interview—when Wallace got into Rand's views on altruistic love. Have a look (and check out the transcript below if you have trouble with her accent):

Fun fact: Ayn Rand appeared on Donahue late in her life. If you're a fan, or just curious, those appearances are amazing.

Also, see this Blank on Blank page for more information about this video.


Mike Wallace: Who are you, Ayn Rand? You have an accent, which is?

Ayn Rand: Russian.

Mike Wallace: Russian. You were born in Russia?

Ayn Rand: Yes.

Mike Wallace: Came here?

Ayn Rand: Oh, about 30 years ago.

Mike Wallace: And whence did this philosophy of yours come?

Ayn Rand: Out of my own mind, with the sole acknowledgement of a debt to Aristotle, who is the only philosopher that ever influenced me. I devised the rest of my philosophy myself.

Mike Wallace: You are married?

Ayn Rand: Yes.

Mike Wallace: Your husband, is he an industrialist?

Ayn Rand: No. He's an artist. His name is Frank O'Conner.

Mike Wallace: Does he live from his painting?

Ayn Rand: He's just beginning to study painting. He was a designer before.

Mike Wallace: Is he supported in his efforts by the state?

Ayn Rand: Most certainly not.

Mike Wallace: He's supported by you for the time being?

Ayn Rand: No, by his own work, actually, in the past. [CROSSTALK] By me if necessary, but that isn't quite necessary.

Mike Wallace: There is no contradiction here, in that you help him?

Ayn Rand: No, because you see I am in love with him selfishly. It is to my own interest to help him if he ever needed it. I would not call that a sacrifice, because I take selfish pleasure in it.


Ayn Rand: I say that man is entitled to his own happiness. And that he must achieve it himself. But that he cannot demand that others give up their lives to make him happy. And nor should he wish to sacrifice himself for the happiness of others. I hold that man should have self-esteem.

Mike Wallace: And cannot man have self-esteem if he loves his fellow man? Christ, every important moral leader in man's history, has taught us that we should love one another. Why then is this kind of love in your mind immoral?

Ayn Rand: It is immoral if it is a love placed above oneself. It is more than immoral, it's impossible. Because when you are asked to love everybody indiscriminately. That is to love people without any standard. To love them regardless of whether they have any value or virtue, you are asked to love nobody.

Mike Wallace: But in a sense, in your book you talk about love as if it were a business deal of some kind. Isn't the essence of love, that it is above self-interest?

Ayn Rand: Well, What would it mean to have a love above self-interest? It would mean, for instance, that a husband would tell his wife, if he were moral according to the conventional morality, that I am marrying you just for your own sake, I have no personal interest in it, but I'm so unselfish, that I am marrying you only for your own good.

Mike Wallace: Should husbands and wives tally up...

Ayn Rand: Would any woman like that? I agree with you that it should be treated like a business deal. But every business deal has to have its own terms and its own kind of currency. And in love the currency is virtue. You love people, not for what you do for them, or what they do for you. You love them for their values, their virtues. You don't love causes. You don't love everybody indiscriminately. You love only those who deserve it. Man has free will. If a man wants love he should correct his flaws, and he may deserve it. But he cannot expect the unearned.

Mike Wallace: There are very few us then in this world, by your standards, who are worthy of love.

Ayn Rand: Unfortunately.... yes... very few. But it is open to everybody, to make themselves worthy of it and that is all that my morality offers them. [CROSSTALK] A way to make themselves worthy of love, although that's not the primary motive.

Mike Wallace: Isn’t it possible that we are all basically lonely people and we are all basically our brothers’ keepers?

Ayn Rand: Nobody has ever given a reason why men should be their brothers' keepers, and you see the examples around you, of men perishing by the attempt to be their brothers' keepers.

Mike Wallace: You have no faith in anything.

Ayn Rand: Faith.... No.

Mike Wallace: Only in your mind.

Ayn Rand: That is not faith. That is a conviction. Yes..... I have no faith at all. I only hold convictions.

Mike Wallace: As we said at the outset, "If Ayn Rand's ideas were ever to take hold, they would revolutionize the world." And to those who would reject her philosophy, Miss Rand hurls this challenge. "For the past 2000 years the world has been dominated by other philosophies. Look around you, consider the results.” We thank Ayn Rand for adding her portrait to our gallery. One of the people other people are interested in. Mike Wallace... Good Bye.

Keystone, Stringer, Getty Images
Einstein's Handwritten Note on Happiness Just Sold for $1.3 Million
Keystone, Stringer, Getty Images
Keystone, Stringer, Getty Images

Albert Einstein was on his way to becoming a household name when he took a trip to Japan in 1922. The scientist had just learned that he would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, and word of his accomplishments was spreading beyond his home country of Germany. In light of his rising stardom, he gave an unconventional tip to his bellboy after checking into his Tokyo hotel: He jotted down a note on a piece of paper in place of giving him cash, saying it "will probably be worth more than a regular tip" in the future. Nearly a century later, NBC News reports, the same note has sold at auction for $1.3 million.

The message, which has come to be referred to as “Einstein’s Theory of Happiness,” looks much different from the ideas about time and space the theoretical physicist is known for. It reads: "A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”

Einstein's "Theory of Happiness" letter.
Menahem Kahana, Getty Images

On Tuesday, October 24, the item went to auction in Jerusalem along with a second note reading "Where there's a will there's a way" that Einstein wrote for the bellboy on the same occasion. The first message was scribbled on official Imperial Hotel paper and the second on a blank sheet of scrap paper. Both were signed and dated 1922.

Following a 25-minute bidding war, Einstein’s theory of happiness was claimed by an anonymous buyer for $1.3 million, making it the highest-priced document ever sold at auction in Israel. The second artifact sold for more than $200,000, according to the auction house. It may have taken a while to pay off, but Einstein's gift turned out to be one of the most generous tips in history. Whether it's going to a relative or descendent of the bellboy is unclear; both seller and buyer are unidentified.   

The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which Einstein helped found, was bequeathed his literary estate and personal papers upon his death. Earlier this year, letters on God, Israel, and physics brought in $210,000 at an auction in the Israeli capital.

[h/t NBC News]

Something Something Soup Something
This Game About Soup Highlights How Tricky Language Is
Something Something Soup Something
Something Something Soup Something

Soup, defined by Merriam-Webster as "a liquid food especially with a meat, fish, or vegetable stock as a base and often containing pieces of solid food," is the ultimate simple comfort food. But if you look closer at the definition, you'll notice it's surprisingly vague. Is ramen soup? What about gumbo? Is a soy vanilla latte actually a type of three-bean soup? The subjectivity of language makes this simple food category a lot more complicated than it seems.

That’s the inspiration behind Something Something Soup Something, a new video game that has players label dishes as either soup or not soup. According to Waypoint, Italian philosopher, architect, and game designer Stefano Gualeni created the game after traveling the world asking people what constitutes soup. After interviewing candidates of 23 different nationalities, he concluded that the definition of soup "depends on the region, historical period, and the person with whom you're speaking."

Gualeni took this real-life confusion and applied it to a sci-fi setting. In Something Something Soup Something, you play as a low-wage extra-terrestrial worker in the year 2078 preparing meals for human clientele. Your job is to determine which dishes pass as "soup" and can be served to the hungry guests while avoiding any items that may end up poisoning them. Options might include "rocks with celery and batteries in a cup served with chopsticks" or a "foamy liquid with a candy cane and a cooked egg served in a bowl with a fork."

The five-minute game is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but Gualeni also hopes to get people thinking about real philosophical questions. According to its description page, the game is meant to reveal "that even a familiar, ordinary concept like 'soup' is vague, shifting, and impossible to define exhaustively."

You can try out Something Something Soup Something for free on your browser.

[h/t Waypoint]


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