Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An Implication of The DIM Theory for Activism

One important element of the philosophy of Objectivism is that it has a purpose: that of living as a human in this world. Each insight of Objectivism has implications about what a man should do to achieve happiness and prosperity.

The DIM Theory is an excellent application of philosophy, and, in the breath of its reach, it is fundamental in understanding how philosophy underlies a culture. I think that it has implications for us.

I want to expand the response I have seen to Dr. Peikoff’s book. From what I have seen, the idea is that LP has given us a prediction and we now sit and watch to see if it proves out. LP makes clear in the book’s closing pages that he isn’t suggesting giving up and that his prediction isn’t a mathematical certainty, but other than clarifying who our ultimate enemy is, people have acted as if there is nothing more to say.

I disagree. I think that the book, in its identifications of fundamental movers of cultural change, has given us a greater understanding of what we should be doing. Our actions to mold our culture should be amended by what we learned from LP. Our activism needs to include a specific purpose to be more effective.

By activism I mean action (meaning attempts to persuade) taken to change the culture, which I think should include actions taken to keep things together long enough for cultural change to occur.

Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s (LP) theory is that the fundamental fact of a culture is its attitude towards integration, i.e., concept formation and the structure of knowledge. Consequently, to change a culture, one has to change its mode of integration.

The approach to integration is in turn based upon the culture’s intellectual leaders position on two philosophic issues: the nature of reality and how man acquires knowledge. If one understands correctly these two issues, one will be lead to a rational, i.e., reality based, method of integration.

It follows then that the direct approach to changing a culture is to address these issues: integration, existence, and reason.

The proof for this conclusion is in The DIM Hypothesis and the writings of Ayn Rand and LP. I do not look at my reasoning as deductive despite appearances.

To apply the implication of LP’s insight requires much thought. I regard what I have to say as a small beginning.

In most cases, addressing the fundamental questions isn’t beneficial. In other words, don’t preach. It is often enough to push rational integration, LP’s I mode, by example, i.e., by referring to reality, facts, and at least implying that thought, a process is necessary to understand an issue. It won’t help to be too subtle. The implication has to be clear.

One way to do this that comes to my mind is to always concritize. Refer to facts connected with an abstraction, and point out that one without the other is meaningless.

My thought is that one should include some aspect of the fundamental issues in every written or spoken statement. You need not always refer to integration. Including the independence and absoluteness of physical reality or the requirement of a rational thought process would also be valuable.

I do not mean to say that addressing issues of rights, morality, government activities, and irrationality in general aren’t worthwhile. I am saying that the more the issues affecting cultural change are included in your arguments, the more impact our efforts will have.


  1. I don't know how "most" people respond to the predictions in DIM, but, fortunately, I know first-hand of several individuals and groups who are using the theory as intended and taking concrete actions to change the culture. No one can make that happen tomorrow, but I think that over the next few years we will begin to see some exciting changes. I am young enough to feel both personally challenged, and also optimistic that I will live long enough to see some of the results of the work of today's Objectivists fifty years from now! To anyone out there who feels that there is no hope: Rest assured, we are quiet now, but we are here, and we are working!

  2. Thank you, Anonymous, for taking the time to comment.

    Yet, when there is a comment that seems to miss the intention and content of the post if I did a bad job of writing. But, I don't understand the comment much either. For example, what does "using the theory as intended" mean? I don't know. Most important to me is whether those people who are "taking concrete actions to change the culture" understand that it is the mode of integration that has to be changed. That is the implication of DIM and what I wanted to point out.