Thursday, September 22, 2005

meaning in a handshake

I once met a guy here at A&M who refused to shake anyones hand, he was above that somehow. He was what I've heard referred to on the internet as a 'Randroid', or a devout student of the so called objectivist Ayn Rand. They are a sect of atheists who want to hold that there is an objective morality, namely egoism. Whatever is good for the self is moral.

Anyway, back to my story. Today, riding my bike back from class, I saw him for the fist time in a year. Immediately recognizable, riding on an electric scooter. I was on my bike, so I had almost passed him when he hit a bump in the sidewalk and fell over his scooter.

I dropped off my bike immediately, and went over to help him. He was fine, only a few scratches.
But he immediately recognized me, and to my surprise, shook my hand! Now, that handshake was very meaningful. For someone I had known over 2 years, and had never shaken his hand. I had heard countless awkward conversations with people he met, that "he didn't do that".

Also, once, when some of us were going to Silver Taps from a Bright computer lab, he explained that he 'didn't need that sort of thing.' He was always so arrogant, and yet so lonely.

So, today, it was nice to shake his hand.


Blogger Amber said...

That's funny, just the other day in logic my professor went on a rant about Ayn Randists..."pop philosophers" was one of the nicer terms he had for them. I've been sort of meaning to check out one of her books for curiosity's sounds like such a lonely, empty worldview that I wonder how she attracts such a following. That's really cool that he shook your hand.

9/22/2005 12:51 PM  
Blogger John Jackson said...

I agree Stephen, Rand had some serious problems in her ethical system. She said that we could do what was best for others by doing what is best for ourselves. This firstly begs the important question of what "good" is. (afterall, if we have no other standard, how are we to judge even that much. So, from the start, her theory can't even get off the ground) But second,even assuming that one could determine a right and wrong only by her standard one would run into the whole problem of conflicting goods. The only logical consequence then, with her theory, is to revert back to one of three alternatives, and none of them are very pretty; those being either relativism, social contractarianism, or utilitarianism, and from there, one must face the music with the problems in each of those.
Of course, like Van Til, I believe that all philosophical assumptions that do not presuppose a trinitarian Christian understanding, will ultimately revert to relativism, for this reason; God must both sovereignly direct everything, and have the perfection that gives Him warrant to do so. He must therefore be both transcendant (far above us is perfection) and immanent (closely involved in every aspect of our lives) in order for us to know truth and to have reason to follow it out, and thus, He must be triune. If God were transcendent but not immanent, He could proclaim the truth,(as He would still be perfect in righteousness) but we would never know it. However, if God were totally immanenent, but not transcendant, then He would not be perfect, and thus, we would have little reason to follow His commands. God would face the same impenatrable obstacle that the Greek gods did of having no objective standard (since He would not be perfect) to appeal to. So, like every other theory that does not presuppose this sort of God (which is the God of the Bible) Rand's theory falls apart.

9/26/2005 4:10 PM  
Blogger Stejahen said...

Agreed John. Good summery of Van Tillianism.
Amber, I've heard that here books are well written either way.

9/29/2005 9:19 PM  
Blogger Den said...

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If you are interested, go see my gas powered scooter related site.
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10/18/2005 1:46 AM  

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