Ayn Rand was Probably Autistic

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Ayn Rand [1905 –1982] was a Russian-American writer and philosopher.  She is known for her two best-selling novels, “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged”, and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism

Ayn Rand displayed characteristic signs of autistic hyperfocus, including:  (a) appearing to live in an inner world that is entirely intellectual; (b) having intense single-minded concentration; (c) seeing every issue in terms of black and white, where a thing is either true or it is not; (d) being outraged by injustice; (e) having a laser-like bullshit detector; (f) fearlessness; (g) writing with a forthrightness that scares people; and (h) having no social awareness of how she is perceived by others.

Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism and rejected altruism.  In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including property rights.

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2 Responses

  1. I was fascinated and flummoxed by Ayn Rand in my 20s; revisited in my 30s and 60s. Read the two big books three times each, and the first one only once, but I have it ready on my Kindle. I couldn’t go along with her after a while. It was like finding a religion and then being unable to fulfill its demands. But I was mesmerized reading her rationalizations, and by the behavior of her characters. I felt a lot of pain, reading her; I felt the pain of my own inadequacy, AND I felt HER pain. She was denying something that she didn’t fully understand about herself. I was in the dark about my own Aspergers tendencies. When I discovered that I’m an Aspie while in my 50s, I returned to The Fountainhead for the third time and realized it was all spelled out there. Howard Roark was born with an inability to glad-hand. I thought it would be in the book only once, but it’s in the book dozens of times. I’m trying to say that I discovered Ayn Rand’s autism on my own, before I found it on-line, and wrote about it a few years back, after I discovered my own autism. She was hiding a lot of pain, regarding those people she hated.

    1. Ayn Rand may not have been in as much pain as you think. Do you remember when Roark’s nemesis asked, “Now that we’re alone, what do you think of me?” — to which Roark replied, “But I don’t think of you.”

      Rand hated social injustice but gave little thought to its individual perpetrators. She was on an educational mission to try to change collective thinking.

      Rand’s thinking was entirely black-and-white, with no shades of grey. What she did not understand about herself is that she was incapable of feeling any emotion. This is obvious from the “love scene” in Atlas Shrugged.

      Both Rand and Roark were intrinsically asocial. Neither could see any point to “glad-handing”. To them it was a form of insincerity.

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