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FALSE DICHOTOMIES LIE AT THE VERY CORE OF OUR TIME. Such
dichotomies are a threat to human thought, for they restrict principles of a general
nature to a limited scope—and presuppose certain ideas to be self-evident, often
rejecting perfectly valid positions off-hand. However, the only legitimate purpose of a
philosophy is not to make things more complex than they are; rather, it is to keep them
as simple as possible.
One such dichotomy, which has dominated the course of mankind’s history—
not by evidence, but by default—is the so-called mind-body dichotomy. Man's mind
and body, the dichotomy suggests, are independent or incompatible. The split between
religion and pragmatism; between the moral and the practical; between values
typically associated with the spirit, such as ideas, love, art and happiness, and ones
associated with the body, such as money, sex, technology and health; between
personal freedom and the Right's crusade against it, and economic freedom and the
Left's crusade against it; between newspaper literature and ideological manifestos—
all are the ultimate product of the mind-body dichotomy.
The following is an attempt to challenge this viewpoint—and offer an
alternative. For one, I shall present a logic-based theory concerning the relationship
between mind and body. Thereafter I will turn to analyze its romantic dramatization in
Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, which I have chosen to do in Rearden's own words,
through a short story depicting Galt's Gulch in the 21st
ALL KNOWLEDGE REQUIRES PROOF. For once, nonetheless, I would like to
start by stating the conclusions right away. Everything to be discussed in this article—
and, for that matter, a great deal of life—could be covered by a single Lesson:
Man is an entity consisting of both spirit and matter—both mind and body
(i). While distinct and complementary, they are mutually dependent: you can
have either both or neither (ii). Both are equally real, and both are equally
necessary for man's survival (iii). A rational philosophy shall, therefore,
recognize the requirements of both properties as absolutes, and have its
laws pertaining to the fundamental nature of man apply to both.
Let me stress that I do not endorse the theological doctrine that man's mind and body
are practically one, or that they interact in an ambiguous or mysterious fashion. The
above is a statement of a fundamental truth, easily validated through observation. The
denial of the Lesson is commonly referred to as the mind-body dichotomy—its study,
the mind-body problem. I will use this terminology over the otherwise interchangeable
variants of soul-body and spirit-body, for reasons of connotation.
It is evident that man possesses a mind, generally characterized by a faculty of
volition. Identical twins may differ dramatically in nature. Whether somebody raise
their right or left hand cannot be determined based on any information about their
body. Furthermore, modern science teaches us that the body is subject to the influence
of the mind in deeper ways than formerly assumed (e.g., consider the close relation
between medicine and psychology). And it is precisely in the light of intellectual,
scientific and political developments that the Industrial Revolution took place, thereby
doubling the life expectancy and ultimately promoting the physical existence of man.
Likewise, it is evident that man possesses a body, generally characterized by
biological determinism. An individual can get inspired by purely physical activities,
such as taking a walk. Furthermore, the function of the brain has been shown to
represent that of the consciousness.
Such a relationship between the mind and the body is not a violation of the
Law of Causality. The Law of Causality states that every event must yield specific
outcomes—which is clearly satisfied by human action: every action yields certain
predictable consequences one cannot evade. It does not imply the absence of first
causes (such as the ability to choose whether to think or not to think), which would
simply be false.1
Now that the reader is (hopefully) convinced that the Lesson is plausible, a
sketch of a proof of its essentials from first principles and observed facts will be given.
The existence of the mind is an axiom, presupposed in any action or. The existence of
the body follows immediately from our daily experience (i). Since every cell of the
body acts deterministically whereas the mind is voluntary, it is inevitable to
distinguish between the two; no single entity can account for both (ii). Finally, reason
is man's basic means of survival. On the other hand, observe that the man's existence
has physical requirements, most trivially food. Therefore, both man's mind and body's
are necessary for his survival (iii). Which completes the proof. ⎕
So much for the theoretical aspects of the Lesson.
Both causality and volition have an axiomatic status. The Law of Causality is simply the Law of
Identity ( ), applied to future events (as in: , where denotes after a while). To see
why it is indeed an axiom, assume that the universe is governed by chance. It follows, then, that there
is no way to tell whether it will remain as such tomorrow. Similarly, the Law of Volition is simply the
Law of Consciousness (I think therefore I am) applied to human action (to think or not to think, that is
the question). Assume that there is no such thing as free-will. It follows, then, that you have drawn
that conclusion, not because it is right, but because, having no choice, you simply had to. Behind
every axiomatic statement is an axiomatic concept. Just like an axiomatic statement cannot be proved
because it is presupposed by any possible statement, an axiomatic concept cannot be defined (i.e.,
distinguished from all other concepts), because it contains any possible concept. Just for fun, make an
attempt to define "cause" and "will" in a non-circular way. You are bound to find that it is impossible.
Based on and inspired by Ayn Rand's preeminent novel Atlas Shrugged2
THE REARDEN METAL AND GLASS MADE MONUMENT ROSE FAR ABOVE
THE EARTH. The sun was gently setting, and my personal watch read: September
. I had detected a code leading to the email address pattern of Galt's Gulch in the
earliest edition of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I had been fascinated, but not shocked,
by the knowledge that Henry Rearden read all of his emails. The content of my
message had indicated solely of my willingness to "make ten thousand bucks off my
study of your remarkable character—and share the prize." I had departed by an
underground railroad. I had always been after unordinary, great minds, and here I got
a chance to meet one in person.
The mill spread across a grass hill, the central tower at its top. The tower
consisted of a Rearden metal-made uniform prism—and a massive diamond shaped
glass chamber upon it. Here, three of the hardest substances on earth coexisted:
diamond, glass and Rearden Metal. If the prism served as the building's body, then the
chamber represented its mind. Other than the transparent elevator shaftway in the
middle of the prism's surface, the offices lacked windows, so that the employees could
focus entirely on their work and, at the same time, enjoy unlimited privacy. The
diamond was home to the mill's basic oxygen furnaces where pure oxygen and hot
metal were turned into liquid steel, and therein lay its uniqueness.
Possibly, an introduction is needed here: Literature is a manifestation of human values, abstracted
from real-life then concretized in an original, selective environment where only relevant factors are
preserved. In a sense, it is a laboratory experiment presenting ways of life in action. Ayn Rand’s Atlas
Shrugged is unique in that the ways of life it portrays are complete philosophical systems, stated
explicitly by the characters. Ayn Rand thus creates a rich alternate universe, with its own technology,
laws, colloquialisms and even (in part) history, directly analogous to our own. Moreover, it was in
Atlas Shrugged that Ayn Rand first introduced revolutionary-yet-natural solution of the mind-body
problem. As mentioned before, this part of the paper will be presented as a short fictional
sequel/spin-off of Atlas Shrugged taking place in the 21
century. So, let the story begin!
The entrance lead directly to an elevator—since the building was so great in
height, statistically speaking, it could be assumed that all the attendants were to ride
upstairs. The elevator lifted rapidly with a constant velocity up to Rearden's office at
the bottom of the chamber. As the whole mill could be viewed from the transparent
office, which occupied the entire floor, the illusion of distance blasted. It had no
furniture, save for a desk, a computer, and a pile of documents and handwritten
Hank Rearden's silver hair had clues of what had once been blonde. He was
eighty-seven—some ten years below the local average lifespan. Although he could
have retired decades before, he kept on working, as he always would. Suddenly, it
occurred to me that youth was a property of the spirit rather than the body. He had
grown to enjoy discussing ideas. He did not smile, but his glance amounted to a smile.
"Surely, you need not wait for my permission to have a seat," he said with a slight
Philadelphia dialect, his voice clear and steady yet with a grain of cheerfulness.
"Let's go down to business," I immediately announced. "I wanna start by
asking about the greatest, or should I say only, love of your life. What does your
metal mean to you?"
"To me," he replied after a while, emphasizing every word, his eyes wide open,
"Rearden Metal is a symbol of my body." It struck me that my interpretation of the
tower architecture had been accurate. "In my Dark Years, I was asked to renounce
both for the sake of the whims of unfamiliar and hostile people who hadn't conceived
of their value, all in the name of some undefined 'spirituality.' Oh, dear Lord, this was
a big lie. I swear they cared nothing for any kind of 'spirituality.' And yet, my metal—
my metal—is an ultimate manifestation of my mind. It doesn't exist in nature, and
nobody had managed to find out its formula until they had to resort to force. And
that's why they gave it the offensive title of the 'Miracle Metal'—they hadn't
conceived of my achievement or its possibility, and thus had to turn to black magic."
"Now these are some unequivocal words. What are your ‘Dark Years,’ and
what's so dark about them? Do you blame yourself for your past actions?'
"Well, I did what I thought was right, but what I thought was right simply
wouldn't do it. I liked to do things—which I still do, but wasn't as philosophical as
other guys from the Gulch. I was honest all right, but couldn't defend my views. I
misinterpreted the motives of the looters, and assumed all of them were merely
pursuing their happiness . I was torn apart between my career and my private life
. I was ashamed of what made me who I was, while that shame was the only thing I
should've been ashamed of. My marriage life was devastated by this monster Lillian
, motivated by the desire to control me end-to-end and mock me for my virtues .
I thought it was my duty to keep this relationship going, and that the grey boredom
and grey despair that ruled it were somehow noble and spiritual. I was subject to the
utmost contradiction of the looter economy, that is, my money was used to further
enforce its plunder, my metal for the sake of my own destruction. By my own consent,
I gave 'em a power they wouldn't naturally have been entitled to: I gave them the
power of consumption without production. On top of that, I'd say this much: My
actions may have been understandable, but certainly not justifiable." More than
anything, the calm, disciplined manner in which these words were spoken emphasized
"And how does one get to resolve such a conflict?"
"I engaged in ongoing self-development with a little help from my friends.
Arguably, it was the first time I faced the need of company, and instead of a obstacle,
this company was a bliss. Francisco taught me that my productive accomplishments
were of immense value to the human mind, and pointed out that there was no
distinction between what's good for my body from a biological perspective and what's
good for my mind from a moral point of view . Um, well, thanks to my ex-wife, it's
no secret that I had an affair with Dagny Taggart, and I'm no longer ashamed to admit
that it was quite amazing. I still remember the touch of her skin. From this I learned
that love is an emotional response to the personal equivalent of oneself, that without
loving oneself no love is a possible, and that loving anyone means loving no one. I
learned as well that sex wasn't a sin, but a noble act and a celebration of whatever's
good in life . Upon testifying at the court, I learned that it was I who gave the
looters power, and that without me accepting their basic premises they would be
impotent . As much as I dreaded to acknowledge it, Ragnar Danneskjöld taught me
that I should not remain passive amid depravity in the name of some mistaken and
disarming notion of morality. He taught me that justice was always to be quested, and
that it was as just as anything could be to employ any means necessary, legal or
otherwise, to take back the money stolen from me by fore . And of course, the
most important lesson was that of John Galt, who taught me that, like any other
personality crisis, mine was rooted in a flawed philosophical premise, which is the
mind-body dichotomy. He taught me that that there was no contradiction between
spirit and matter, the moral and the practical, principles and facts, intellectual freedom
and political freedom . Only then did I fully realize that my mind and my body
were as one, and as a consequence became happy with my life."
"Do you keep track of current events in the Old West? Do you regard your
personal biography as a warning—and a lesson—to good guys like you out there?"
"It takes a whole lot of skill to be more consistent than the Western world at
inconsistency. In the long run, however, since contradictions cannot be put into
practice, and since the principled always win, inconsistency never prevails.
“The way I see it, the overall secular trend is materialist reductionism. They
accept it as some kind of a scientific truth. But I taught myself higher chemistry, and
it's got nothing to do with science; it's something way deeper. Genetics is one subject
that regularly comes up on small talk. There is some considerable progress in medical
science, you know, things that had been obvious to us for years. But then, in the realm
of mental health, an utterly materialist approach is taken, let alone the unprincipled
diagnosis of specific disorders by 'social norms.' That's not to suggest that no
biological factors may be relevant to mental function. But the emphasis should be
placed on a course of active change such as the one I undertook. Spiritualism is used
primarily as a bromide to suppress men’s worldly concerns the looters desire to
“But, as Marx teaches us, societies established on materialist philosophy lead
to anything but material prosperity . This has some enormous impact even on the
very best of men. The classical example is programmer and entrepreneur Bill Gates.
While mass used computer run almost exclusively on Windows, it is the masses that
condemned him for his accomplishments. Accused of constructed crimes under a
bunch of legal nonsense, he was assaulted by the government on the grounds that no
one could compete with his products. To learn why principles matter, compare and
contrast Gates's trial defense with mine. He was not strong enough to fight back, and
accepted the precept that his achievements were material and as such devoid of moral
value. He dedicated the rest of his life to giving away his wealth, which resulted in
inferior products and his eventual retirement .
"Steve Jobs stands as a more inspirational example. He recently made his way
here, and is about to release his brand new handheld computer MacCu3ed3
both John’s electrostatic motor technology and superconducting Rearden metal4
thing’s a true perpetuum mobile machine, and may be the most powerful commercial
laptop ever manufactured. Thanks to his uncompromised vision, Jobs integrated
modern architecture with the sciences, innovation with user-friendliness, beauty with
efficiency, and mind with body . He did absorb some flawed ideas about mind
and body in the world. But—even know he will lose his mind if he hears that—I think
I can safely say that it’s a matter of a few years until he doesn’t remember what the
word 'Maharishi' stands for.
Steve Paul Jobs arrived at Galt’s Gulch in the year of 2011. The foundation of his third corporation,
G–D Integrated Technologies Inc., followed shortly after. By March 2013, the development of Mac
Cubed (stylized MacCu3ed), which became G–D's greatest asset for the ages overnight. MacCu3ed
featured three parts, together making a cube: A multi-touch LCD screen, a hard drive combined with
keyboard with built-in mouse, as well as the computer box itself. Separated, the three served as a
table computer, with the three combined it served as a laptop, and with the screen and the computer
alone it served as a tablet. Shedding light on the title given to the new device, Jobs explained that
three was his favorite number, and was related to his life and career in many ways, such as the
combination of a screen, a keyboard and a mouse seen in the classic Macintosh, the three functions
of the iPhone presented in its original announcement, and now the three parts and three modes of
the MacCu3ed. Jobs's team managed to isolate the interior of the computer from its exterior, so as to
make possible superconducting temperatures. With superconductive technology, the product
consumed little energy, and could rest entirely on electrostatic energy in the way proposed by John
Galt decades earlier. Therefore, no process of active charging or battery replacement was required.
Referring to the production of energy out of static electricity, the official marketing slogan was "So
dynamic it makes even the static flow."
Superconductivity is a phenomenon in which the electrical resistance of certain materials drops to
zero at temperatures close to the absolute zero. This number has been determined with remarkable
accuracy by experiments, proving that current can flow in a superconductor for billions of years .
Privately-funded superconductivity research flourished at Galt's Gulch. One bright physicist in his mid-
20's, Irwin Baum PhD., discovered that Rearden Metal exhibited superconductive behavior at
astonishingly high 130K, a result which could not be explained in terms of the current theory. In a
series of sophisticated experiments, by managing to undo the weak measurement of the charge
distribution in the apparatus, Dr. Baum reaffirmed that elementary particles occupied distinct
trajectories. Such was the beginning of a third scientific revolution.
Incidentally, the revolutionary new theory of physics implied a new kind of an interaction,
giving rise to uncertainty. The uncertainty was quantized (viz discrete rather than continuous), and
grew with the complexity of the interacting system. The simplest unit to exhibit it was found to be the
living cell, in which it was barely observable, the most complicated the human brain. The above easily
translated to an evolutionary view of volition. Thus was free will reconciled with an otherwise
deterministic Theory of Everything.
"Do I see my biography as a lesson to the Old West?—Frankly, I'm not an
altruist, and the Old West doesn't normally bother me—not anymore. But to the extent
that it affects me, I wish my lesson would increase the distribution of entrepreneurs
like myself in the Old West, and encourage them to give up neither their minds nor
their bodies as years drift by.”
"Mr. Rearden," I turned to go, "thanks for your time and vision." He merely
stood up and nodded. "Oh, and in time—"
"If you understand why that's right and always keep it in mind, you will," he
With no further word and with a genuine smile that knew no limits, I left the
office. My next destination would have been the immigration department, had I not
been informed by the secretary that there was no immigration department, and that the
government complex was the most modest building around—which answered my
question. I threw the excuses aside, and walked with no destination in mind, all alone.
The skyscrapers served as a satisfactory light source at night, and no street
lighting was required. Hence was yet another "major" problem about the private
supply of goods solved. A star was visible in the skies—quite an unlikely incident
given the light pollution of the city. It was Venus. One of these days, I thought, this
tiny point of light will be settled by man—if only mind and body come as one.
* No external references from the section dealing with philosophy, because philosophy is
self-contained and complete.
 Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, p. 46: "He thought: What do I care about the nature of his
desire?—it's his, just as Rearden Metal was mine—it must mean to him what that meant to me—
let's see him happy just once, it might teach him something—didn't I say that happiness is the
agent of purification?—I'm celebrating tonight, so let him share in it—it will be so much for him,
and so little for me."
 Ibid., p. 859: Rearden: "I had cut myself in two, as the mystics preached, and I ran my business
by one code of rules, but my own life by another."
 Ibid., p. 155: "His desire for her had died in the first week of their marriage. What remained
was only a need which he was unable to destroy. He had never entered a whorehouse; he thought,
at times, that the self-loathing he would experience there could be no worse than what he felt
when he was driven to enter his wife's bedroom."
 Ibid., p. 288: Dialogue between Lillian and Hank Rearden: "What I want is non-material.”
“What is it?”
“How do you mean that, Lillian? You don't mean it in the gutter sense.”
“No, not in the gutter sense."
 Ibid., p. 418: Dialogue between d'Aconia and Rearden: “You ought to know, Mr. Rearden.
You're one of the last moral men left to the world.”
Rearden chuckled in bitter amusement. “I've been called just about everything but that.
And you're wrong. You have no idea how wrong.”
“Are you sure?”
“I ought to know. Moral? What on earth made you say it?”
Francisco pointed to the mills beyond the window. “This.”
 Ibid., p. 785: Rearden: "[Dagny] knew that the physical desire I was damning as our mutual
shame, is neither physical nor an expression of one's body, but the expression of one's mind's
deepest values, whether one has the courage to know it or not."
 Ibid., p. 443: Rearden: "If you choose to deal with men by means of compulsion, do so. But
you will discover that you need the voluntary co-operation of your victims, in many more ways
than you can see at present."
 Ibid., p. 533: Danneskjöld: "It is a policeman's duty to retrieve stolen property and return it to
its owners. But when robbery becomes the purpose of the law, and the policeman's duty becomes,
not the `protection, but the plunder of property—then it is an outlaw who has to become a
policeman." Rearden is initially suspicious toward Danneskjöld, but later on helps him cover his
identity from a couple of (official) policemen, and finally accepts the gold offered to him by
 Ibid., pp. 971-972: Galt: "This country . . . could not stand on the mystic split that divorced
man’s soul from his body. It could not live by the mystic doctrine that damned this earth as evil
and those who succeeded on earth as depraved. . . . It was one or the other: America or mystics.
The mystics knew it; you didn’t. You let them infect you with the worship of need—and this
country became a giant in body with a mooching midget in place of its soul, while its living soul
was driven underground to labor and feed you in silence, unnamed, unhonored, negated, its soul
and hero: the industrialist. Do you hear me now, Hank Rearden, the greatest of the victims I have
 Marx held that the status-quo is not a result of the thoughts and choices of individuals, but of
material factors, society as a whole, as well as the abstract structure of history itself. "It is not the
consciousness of men that determines their being," Marx famously argued in his preface to
Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, "but, on the contrary, their social being that
determines their consciousness."
 See The Giving Pledge official website and United States of America v. Microsoft
Corporation: Final Judgment.
 For the description of superconductivity, refer to Richard P. Feynman et al., The Feynman
Lectures on Physics Vol. III, Chapter 21. Interestingly enough, the writer employs a controversial
deterministic, realistic approach handle the phenomenon, which is the inspiration behind the
fictional development of theoretical science described. Nevertheless, with the exception of the
elementary facts cited, everything is pure science fiction.
 Steve Jobs quoted n Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs, p. 527: "We believe that it's technology
married with the humanities that yields us the result that makes our heart sing." Having read Jobs's
biography, I interpret this statement in a broader sense than the literal one. General impression of
Steve Jobs's character similarly based on his biography.