Links between "The Choice" and 'The “Conflicts” of Men’s Interests' by Ayn Rand

Continuing the discussion from Notes on “The Choice” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Efrat Goldratt-Ashlag:

I read The “Conflicts” of Men’s Interests by Ayn Rand (The Virtue of Selfishness (VoS), Chapter 4) looking for links between Rand’s ideas and those explained in The Choice (TC) by Goldratt and Goldratt-Ashlag.

On VoS p. 45, Rand writes:

There are four interrelated considerations which are involved in a rational man’s view of his interests, but which are ignored or evaded in the above question and in all similar approaches to the issue. I shall designate these four as: (a) “Reality,” (b) “Context,” (c) “Responsibility,” (d) “Effort.”

I’m going to look at what Rand writes about each of these topics and relate it to the content of TC.

In VoS p.46 under (a) Rand writes:

The Law of Identity (A is A) is a rational man’s paramount consideration in the process of determining his interests. He knows that the contradictory is the impossible, that a contradiction cannot be achieved in reality and that the attempt to achieve it can lead only to disaster and destruction. Therefore, he does not permit himself to hold contradictory values, to pursue contradictory goals, or to imagine that the pursuit of a contradiction can ever be to his interest.

In my notes for Chapter 5 of TC I wrote:

A person can have two conflicting desires. A conflict happens when you want a contradiction. Want wings on a plane to be strong, so give them supporting beams but also want them to be light.

Can treat any conflict like a contradiction. When fail to reach a compromise say that one of the underlying assumptions is wrong, and eliminate it.

Goldratt noticed that conflicting desires involve wanting a contradiction. He recommended eliminating the contradiction by removing an underlying assumption. So Rand and Goldratt saw that people should eliminate such contradictions instead of trying to act on them.

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From (b) (VoS, p. 48):

When a man trades with others, he is counting—explicitly or implicitly—on their rationality, that is: on their ability to recognize the objective value of his work. (A trade based on any other premise is a con game or a fraud.) Thus, when a rational man pursues a goal in a free society, he does not place himself at the mercy of whims, the favors or the prejudices of others; he depends on nothing but his own effort: directly, by doing objectively valuable work—indirectly, through the objective evaluation of his work by others.

In Chapter 14 of TC, Goldratt sez:

“What actually is implied by a statement like ‘people resist change’? Does it imply good things about people’s personalities? Don’t you realize that it actually claims that people are programmed to resist, irrespective of the content of the proposed change? That claim certainly doesn’t give too much credit to people’s judgment. It is a derogatory statement.”

Both Rand and Goldratt think that if you’re trading with somebody you should appeal to their judgement rather than assume they’re irrational.

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From (c) (VoS, p. 49):

Most people hold their desires without any context whatever, as ends hanging in a foggy vacuum, the fog hiding any concept of means. They rouse themselves mentally only long enough to utter an “I wish,” and stop there, and wait, as if the rest were up to some unknown power.

What they evade is the responsibility of judging the social world. They take the world as the given. “A world I never made” is the deepest essence of their attitude—and they seek only to adjust themselves uncritically to the incomprehensible requirements of those unknowable others who did make the world, whoever those might be.

But humility and presumptuousness are two sides of the same psychological medal. In the willingness to throw oneself blindly on the mercy of others there is the implicit privilege of making blind demands on one’s masters.

In Chapter 18 of TC, Goldratt sez:

You have to take full responsibility for your life. This will lead you to a full life but certainly not to an easy life. As a matter of fact I had to give up on the greatest pleasure of human beings, on the pleasure gained from bitching and moaning."

Goldratt and Rand both say that you should take responsibility and that the alternative is to make demands that other people should do stuff for you and complain when they don’t.

Did you delete the template for starting new Unbounded topics instead of answering the questions? When you make a new topic in this category, it auto-populates your post with some bold text you can reply to. Please don’t delete/skip that.

Okay I won’t skip the questions.

From (d) (VoS, pp. 50-51):

Since a rational man knows that man must achieve his goals by his own effort, he knows that neither wealth nor jobs nor any human values exist in a given, limited, static quantity, waiting to be divided. He knows that all benefits have to be produced, that the gain of one man does not represent the loss of another, that a man’s achievement is not earned at the expense of those who have not achieved it.

From Chapter 9 of TC:

Our approach to conflicts should be based on trying to remove an underlying assumption so that the conflict will vanish. Removing the conflict paves the way to find the desired change. We’ll then be focused on expanding the existing cake rather than fighting over our share of a finite, too-limited cake.

Goldratt and Rand both think that it is possible for men to avoid conflict by looking for solutions to their disagreements that produce more benefits for both parties.

My motivation is described in the discussion that this thread continues, starting with this post: