A few months ago, I listened to Edith Packer’s Nine Lectures on Psychology. Despite some substantial philosophic unhappiness at various points, I’m pleased to report that I enjoyed the series as a whole. It was definitely an interesting and worthwhile listen. Just to be clear, my primary motive was philosophical, in that I wanted to further my own understanding of psychology so as to help me do better philosophy. Yet I also found some very helpful bits to apply to my own life.
At some point in the near future, I will listen to the whole series again — while taking notes on my digital recorder. (I know that I’ve already forgotten far too much good material!) For now, let me at least mention a comment from one of the lectures that has really stuck with me. If I recall correctly, Edith Packer was asked a question about raising Objectivist children. She said that the basic challenge is not in teaching children to be egoists. They do that naturally, such that altruism must be pounded into them. Rather, the difficulty lies in teaching children to be rational in their egoism. That’s basically right, I think.
Just to be clear, I don’t wish to open up a debate about ARI’s break with George Reisman and Edith Packer with this post. I will make some comments on that rather murky personal dispute soon enough, but not quite yet. Anyone with relevant and reliable inside information or some knock-down argument is more than welcome to e-mail me, if they please. But please don’t comment in the comments — at least not on this post.