Sunday, May 3, 2015

Today on The Robert Wenzel Show: Dr. Michael Edelstein Discusses Self-Esteem, Anger and Nathaniel Branden

Today's Guest:
Dr. Michael Edelstein

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  1. Edelstein's interpretation of Branden regarding emotions is very peculiar. Both Rand and Branden state quite clearly that emotions are a result of the thinking you do or don't do. In particular your judgment about whether something is for you or against you, beneficial or harmful to your life as a rational human being. They never suggested or stated that self esteem "springs forth" when you simply behave in a manner that appears self confident. In fact, that description sounds like behaviorists psychology. And that is Edelstein. Some of his examples are revealing. Using angry behavior to instill fear in a classroom full of children is a strange way to create a learning environment. But it might be temporarily successful in preventing the appearance of bad behavior. Of course than there is no opportunity to discover and learn about the source of the bad behavior because it is repressed. A situation that tragically describes how the government school system treats children. This is something Branden would strongly counsel against. Also, Edelsteins suggestion that one must get rid of "shoulds and musts" in order to deal with anger coiuld leave you emotionally neutered. Frustrated, repressed and still angry. Not a healthy situation.

  2. Thanks, Brian, for your thoughts. I'll address them in order:
    1. In Branden's book, The Power of Self-Esteem, and elsewhere he repeatedly defines self-esteem as a consequence of an experience, not as a consequence of your thinking about the experience. He says: "Self-esteem is the experience that we are appropriate to life and to the requirements of life (p. vii)."
    2. I agree with you scaring kids is an unfortunate means of encouraging learning and is a testament to Government schools. I did not say otherwise. My point was any positive result of anger could usually be achieved by acting angrily, rather than making yourself angry.
    3. I agree with you, simply squelching anger is not the best solution to it. As I stated in the interview, if you abolish absolutistic, angry demands from your philosophy, this would allow desires, determination, and passion to flourish