Nathaniel Branden Seminars Content Inventory

Disclaimer: Nathaniel Branden's Seminars are being provided for historical study. Views expressed in these seminars do not necessarily reflect Dr. Branden's later theories or opinions.

The following content inventory is a cross reference for Nathaniel Branden's Seminars, recorded monthly from June 1969 to May 1973. These Seminars are now available for download from The Culture of Reason Center Online Store. 

Nathaniel Branden Seminars (1969 - 1973)

A monthly recorded “Question and Answer” session with Nathaniel Branden in which he discusses key issues in psychology and philosophy - Recorded Live –

Seminar # 01 (June 1969) – With students from California State College at Long Beach

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: the meaning of “Biocentric Psychology,” the choice of career goals, objections to Freudianism, the irrationality of some modern scientists, the psychology of evil, religion and sex, the future of Objectivism.

Seminar # 02 (July 1969)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: a rational man’s alienation from our present culture, conflicts of college students with their professors, discrepancies between a person’s philosophical convictions and his underlying psychology, self-esteem and the desire for recognition, love and values.

Seminar # 03 (August 1969)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: the meaning of self-confidence and self-respect, the nature of guilt, the consequences of pursuing irrational values, self-esteem and intelligence, pseudo-self-esteem.

Seminar # 04 (September 1969)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: the reasons of religious hostility towards sex, the significance of the current “sexual revolution,” sex and romantic love, masculine “dominance” and feminine “surrender,” the question of the double standard, myths about sex.

Seminar # 05 (October 1969)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: thinking and free will, impact of the environment on values, heredity and personality, creativity and motivation, reason and emotions.

Seminar # 06 (November 1969)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: genuine independence vs. counterfeit independence, the psychology of “role playing,” teaching children to be independent, independence in a romantic relationship, moral authoritarianism.

Seminar # 07 (December 1969)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: causes of failure in marriage, sustaining romantic love in marriage, the sexually unresponsive partner, problems of communication between partners, overcoming fear of emotional intimacy, practical suggestions for improving a marriage.

Seminar # 08 (January 1970)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: military conscription, the “anarchist and libertarians,” motives for entering politics, the hippies revolt against reason, how to fight for the future.

Seminar # 09 (February 1970)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: psychotherapy as an intellectual-emotional process, the practice of group therapy, therapeutic uses of hypnosis, the characteristics of a good therapist.

Seminar # 10 (March 1970)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: the reasons of the public silence concerning Objectivism, the disintegration of the Objectivist movement, the religious mentality of some students of Objectivism, the rational role of Objectivism in one’s life.

Seminar # 11 (April 1970)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: the nature of intelligence, the roots of intelligence, developing one’s intellectual potential, intelligence and creativity, psychological problems of the superior mind.

Seminar #12 (May 1970)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: how religion fosters sexual neuroses, sex and guilt, distinguishing between healthy and neurotic relationships, dependency and love, the brotherhood of fear.

Seminar # 13 (June 1970)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: emotional closeness in romantic love, choosing a mate, the source of enthusiasm for life, the use of drugs, the meaning of social shyness.

Seminar # 14 (July 1970)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: the relationship between mind and brain, the women’s liberation movement, mob psychology, curing homosexuality.

Seminar # 15 (August 1970)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: the nature of friendship, principles of dealing with friends, the role of loyalty in friendship, distinguishing friendship from love.

Seminar # 16 (September 1970)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: the reason-emotion conflict, problems in distinguishing thought and feeling, changing inappropriate emotions, the role of emotions in thinking.

Seminar # 17 (October 1970)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: emotions and motivation, fear of strong emotions, emotions and objectivity.

Seminar # 18 (November 1970)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: psychotherapy, teaching patients to recognize evasion, convincing a friend he needs psychological help, the factors that produce a psychological cure.

Seminar # 19 (December 1970)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: emotional reactions to Breaking Free, dealing with repression and pain, emotional openness and creativity.

Seminar # 20 (January 1971)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: neurosis and immorality, the concept of the unconscious, stage fright, fear of committing oneself.

Seminar # 21 (February 1971)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: the fallacy of adjusting to one’s neurosis, resistance to growth in psychotherapy, dealing with the patient’s guilt, the goals of psychotherapy.

Seminar # 22 (March 1971)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: The Psychology of Self-Esteem, teaching children to handle fear, learning to introspect, sex and self-esteem.

Seminar # 23 (April 1971)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: dreams and fantasies, ownership and self-esteem, bearing pain, discovering hidden virtues.

Seminar # 24 (May 1971)

Nathaniel Branden discusses such topics as: the meaning of mental illness, the rights of children, physical appearance and romantic love.

Seminar # 25 (June 1971)

Nathaniel Branden deals with the following questions:

Do you find that there is one problem more than any other that stands in the way of a successful man-woman relationship?

How do you teach your clients to deal with emotions of anger and resentment toward a marital partner?

Many people seem to have great difficulty in knowing what they feel – just what emotions they are experiencing at any time. Can you account for this?

In a recent lecture you said: “No one ever won a war against his emotions by declaring war on them.” Can you elaborate on this?

You spend a lot of time teaching your clients the art of describing their feelings and emotions. How do you avoid the danger of encouraging an attitude of self-indulgence and irresponsibility?

What dangers, if any, exist for a person attending psychotherapy?

Among the many problems that you are called upon to treat, are there any basic or recurring themes that you find present in most or all clients?

Seminar # 26 (July 1971)

Nathaniel Branden deals with the following questions:

Can a person who was raised under adverse circumstances and who comes across Objectivism in middle age, become an emotionally whole human being without professional help?

If a very young child is reared in an irrational manner, is it inevitable that he will repress his painful emotions?

What problems might a person who was exposed to a great deal of irrationality during childhood, and accepted this as normal, encounter in a romantic relationship?

If a man and a woman are going through a process of de-repression in therapy, can their romantic relationships be jeopardized?

What can partners in a romantic relationship do to encourage emotional honesty between themselves?

Why might a normally outgoing, and spontaneous woman freeze up in the presence of any man she finds immensely attractive?

Is the presence of both parents necessary if a child is to have a healthy sexual identity?

Do you think a woman is psychologically unfit to be President?

Could the trend by some parents to de-emphasize the difference between the mother as feminine and the father as masculine affect a child’s feeling of sexual identity?

Seminar # 27 (August 1971)

Nathaniel Branden deals with the following questions:

Does Objectivism encourage people to intellectualize their problems?

Are there any techniques which help people to be in better touch with their emotions?

Is guilt always an indication of some psychological disorder?

Are there any implications for free will in the fact that repression may start as a defense mechanism in a very young child?

How do you distinguish between spontaneity and acting unthinkingly on one’s feelings?

What are your present views concerning the future of Objectivism as an intellectual influence in our culture?

Does Objectivism prescribe any particular lifestyle?

Should friends avoid making psychological pronouncements about each other?

Seminar # 28 (September 1971)

Nathaniel Branden deals with the following questions:

When and how did your interest in psychology begin?

Have you always been interested in intellectual pursuits?

Did religious teachings ever have any impact on you?

Before your association with Ayn Rand, to what extend did you subscribe to libertarian economic and political principles?

How did the original Objectivist circle begin?

What was your basic theoretical approach to psychology before you read The Fountainhead?

Did you find your years in college frustrating?

Did the success of NBI surpass your original expectation?

During your years at NBI did you ever have reservations about any of the philosophical tenets of Objectivism?

Do you think that your intimate association with Objectivism and Objectivists for so many years in any way hindered your intellectual creativity?

When writing for The Objectivist, did you feel free to express ideas that were contrary to those of Miss Rand if such an occasion should ever arise?

Was the religiosity of the New York Objectivist circle apparent to you while you were at NBI?

Do you consider yourself to have ever had a religious attitude towards Objectivism?

What would your reaction have been ten years ago, if you had heard a lecture comparable to “Discovering the Unknown Self?”

How long did it take you to prepare the Basic Principles course?

What are the reasons and did you agree with this policy, while you were at NBI, of The Objectivist making a practice of cutting off people from its mailing list?

Did the article “To Whom It May Concern” come as a complete surprise to you?

What kind of mail did you receive after your split with Ayn Rand?

If the split had not occurred, do you think you’d still be at NBI?

Why did you come to Los Angeles, after the split, rather than remain in New York and set up a practice there?

What is your present view of people who travel within a small circle of friends who all agree with their ideas?

Do you consider yourself to be more receptive to new ideas than when you were at NBI? If so, why?

When the “Basic Principles of Objectivism” course was made available by Academic Associates, The Objectivist printed a legal notice stating that: If these lectures are on Objectivism then they are the intellectual property of Ayn Rand and that you had no right to release them without her permission. What was your personal reaction to this?

As a purely speculative point, if a reconciliation attempt were made by Miss Rand, would you accept it?

Seminar # 29 (October 1971)

Nathaniel Branden deals with the following questions:

Are you aware that after the break that Miss Rand’s friends were declaring that professionally and intellectually Nathaniel Branden was finished?

Why do you think some of your former associates denounced you so quickly, after the article “To Whom It May Concern,” without being aware of your side of the story?

You stated earlier that you profited enormously from Miss Rand. However, some of Miss Rand’s supporters claim that the profit was entirely one sided – that you were, in effect, riding on the fame of her ideas. What is your view of this?

Do you think that Miss Rand was counting on you to remain silent when she mentioned the letter that subsequently became embarrassing for her?

Next to Ayn Rand, is there another person who has had considerable impact on your thinking?

Do you agree with Dr. Blumenthal’s article in The Objectivist, entitled “The Base of Objectivist Psychotherapy?”

How do you presently feel about your book Who is Ayn Rand?

Do you become nervous before delivering a lecture?

Are you a fast reader and do you usually take notes on the books you read?

Why did you choose New York as the place to present “Discovering the Unknown”?

Were you always a good speaker or did your proficiency develop with time and practice?

Are you anticipating any lecture courses in the future?

What is your second love, next to psychology?

How many drafts of an essay or material for a book do you usually make before you arrive at a finished product?

Do you have many friends that you regard as close?

Do you have any hobbies?

What is your favorite type of music?

What period of your life do you regard as being your most productive?

Do you think you will have a major impact in the history of psychology?

Seminar # 30 (November 1971)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

Please elaborate on your statement that psychological symptoms often serve the purpose of increasing one’s sense of control.

Psychologically, what does it mean to accept responsibility for one’s actions?

Why doesn’t an intellectual adoption of new values change a person’s emotional responses?

Can abstract theorizing about one’s emotions benefit one psychologically?

What is the relation between emotional openness and self-esteem?

Please elaborate on your use of ‘goal-directedness’ as a distinguished form of ‘purposeful behavior’ in The Psychology of Self-Esteem.

Do you plan on revising The Psychology of Self-Esteem and, if so, what time of changes will you make?

What is the nature of the harm that a Freudian type psychoanalyst can do to a patient?

What are your basic disagreements with the theoretical foundations of Gestalt therapy?

Seminar # 31 (December 1971)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

Do you agree with the observation that most people are religious for psychological reasons?

What is the primary psychological purpose that belief in God serves for most theists?

Do you believe that it is possible for a person with a high degree of self-esteem to be devoutly religious?

Is there any one particular belief or attitude in Christianity that you regard as the most devastating psychologically?

In what ways do religious beliefs contributes to emotional repression?

What effect does the notion of an omnipresent God who is always monitoring one’s actions and thoughts have upon the psychological development of a child?

In what ways do Judeo-Christian doctrines contribute to sexual problems, such as impotency and homosexuality?

What effects does the belief in an afterlife have upon one’s psychological development?

Have you found any correlations between the severity of psychological problems caused by religious up-bringing and the degree to which the religious atmosphere was fundamentalist in its orientation?

Do you think that the inculcation of guilt is inherent in Judeo-Christian belief?

Does religion holding a monopoly on the concept of sin, contribute to any special psychological problems?

Do you regard as possible the claims of many devout Christians, that they are extremely happy people?

Have you found that in the course of therapy any of your clients who may have initially believed in God later reject this belief and become atheists?

Seminar # 32 (January 1972)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

What is your opinion of Sigmund Freud’s analysis concerning the connection between the father complex and the belief in God?

Do you find that many psychologists are reluctant to express views that might conflict with the religious beliefs of their client?

From a psychological point of view is there anything good that you can say about the Judeo-Christian doctrines?

To what do you attribute the current popularity of Christianity among young people in the so called Jesus movement?

What would motivate a person such as a priest or a nun, to live a life of sexual abstinence and poverty for their religion?

Why are many people defensive when their religious beliefs are questioned?

Do you regard alleged cases of faith healing as outright fraud?

Do you think that the belief in a reward after death can have a detrimental psychological influence, as the belief in punishment after death can?

It is often claimed that the belief in God provides one with a sense of purpose. Do you think this is true?

What is the psychological function of prayer?

What do you think of the Christian view of marriage?

What do you think of the commandment: honor thy father and thy mother?

Do you think, as people become older, it becomes more difficult for them to question their religious belief?

In what ways do you think that religious training contributes to the acceptance of statism?

What do you see in the future of religion?

Seminar # 33 (February 1972)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

In the October 1971 issue of Reason, you state that “Libertarians don’t seem to know what the vital issues are, where the battle lines most need to be drawn and which issues should be attacked first. They don’t seem to have a good sense of practical reality in these matters.” What do you consider to be the most crucial issues today in which libertarians should address themselves?

Why do you think Ayn Rand stresses the violation of rights of big business rather than concentrating on such issues as the draft, legalization of marijuana and other drugs, and imprisonment of political dissidents?

Some confusion exists among libertarians on the issue of working within the present political system to effect desired change. Would you comment on this?

Ayn Rand stated that mass retaliation against civilians in time of war did not constitute the initiation of force against them – because a government speaks for all the citizens of that country and if government declares war on us, it does so in the name of all its citizens. What is your view of mass civilian bombing in wartime? Does it constitute aggression against innocent people?

In 1957, Austrian scientist Wilhelm Reich died in an American prison; he was sentenced as the outcome of a series of events beginning when the Food and Drug Administration judged a part of his scientific theories to be incorrect and an invention based on them to be useless and therefore fraudulent when sold on the market. In an Objectivist society, what would be the powers and role of the government with respect to evaluating scientific theories and inventions?

Ayn Rand once denounced mass civil disobedience as an assault on legality as such she said that civil disobedience was justifiable only to make a test case of an issue. Why is not civil disobedience, mass or not, justifiable in the case of such clearly immoral laws as those pertaining to conscription and taxation, regardless of whether or not a test case is involved?

At what point in the political degeneration of a nation does revolution become a justifiable course of action?

In a society governed by libertarian principles, no man or group of men would be permitted to gain values by means of force or fraud. In such a society, would religious institutions such as churches be permitted – since they attempt to gain values from individuals by means of promises, which they cannot fulfill?

The key difference between the limited government advocated by Objectivists, and the agencies advocated by many anarchists, is that the Objectivist limited government would claim and exercise a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force in a given geographical area. Why is this characteristic a necessary condition of man’s proper survival in a social context?

Would the government of an Objectivist society have the power to force agencies of defense and retaliation to cease their activities? If so, would not this constitute the use or threat of force against those who have not themselves initiated the use of force? If not, would the government continue to exist?

One of the central objections which Objectivism has against free market anarchism is that, in such a society, there would be no final authority governing the use of force. Why is it impossible for different agencies to agree on a method of handling disputes in advance, and to deal with conflicts allegedly necessitating a final authority in that manner?

Doesn’t the Objectivist argument in favor of a final authority to solve disputes, logically lead to the advocacy of a world government – since disputes are possible between citizens of different nations?

An Objectivist objection to anarchism is that under anarchism there is no absolute method of ensuring that different agencies will observe objective procedures. Since, in an Objectivist society, government would determine its own actual limitations through interpretations of the constitution, why cannot this also be used as an objection to limited government?

Ayn Rand has written that the anarchical capitalists “see no difference between the functions of government and the functions of industry, between force and production.” Would you comment on this?

Seminar # 34 (March 1972)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

What do you think of the women’s lib movements’ theory that all men regard women as – in effect – sex objects?

Would you amplify on the theory that one's ability to experience and express anger has a direct impact on one's ability to enjoy sex?

Why do many women seem to react to men as if men regarded them as prey?

Do you think that on the average, there's a significant difference in the levels of the sex drives of men versus women?

Do you think that penal-vaginal intercourse is the primary or most important act of expression of the man woman relationship?

How important is the synchronization of the two partners sense's of life to a successful romantic relationship? Are tastes in music a good key to this whole issue?

Do you have any more thoughts, beyond what you've expressed in the past, about the theme of romantic relationships being essentially, hero worship of the man by the woman?

Many men find women who are sexually aggressive to be threatening. Is sexual aggression in women, unwomanly?

What would you consider to be good reasons to marry? How is it possible to be sufficiently certain that one's love for another person will last indefinitely into the future?

To what extent does romantic love depend upon context?

Do you feel that a marriage too early in life is the primary reason why marriages fail?

Could you give us your opinion on the practice of couples who are living together without being legally married?

Do you agree with some writers who have maintained that men are more easily sexually aroused than women, but that the arousal is actually different in kind?

Seminar # 35 (April 1972)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

Why are we predominantly monogamous?

Why does it seem more proper for a woman to take orders in a job situation from a man, than vice-versa?

Should sex be only in the context of a long term serious affair, or can it be proper as a one night stand?

Is masturbation as such wrong or can it be sometimes a proper outlet?

Is it a woman's part to surrender to a man sexually – is conquest masculine and surrender feminine?

If one partner is frustrated by insufficient sexual activity, how can the couple best resolve this problem?

Is it possible to make a real romantic relationship out of a marriage that was originally based on neurotic motives?

How does one keep a relationship viable with limited time together alone?

How does one cope when it seems that one has grown beyond the intellectual development of one’s spouse or partner?

What personal inadequacies might move a person to choose as a romantic partner one who is much less of a person intellectually and emotionally than he is?

In my own marriage I caused my wife to repress much of the good that is in her. What can I do to repair the damage that I've done to her?

Do you think that the use of so called pornography as a sexual stimulant represents a deficit in a sexual relationship?

What kinds of sexual pleasure or enjoyment between a man and a woman do you consider irrational illegitimate?

Seminar # 36 (May 1972)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

Do you believe that human beings would naturally develop to be bi-sexual, if it weren’t for cultural and social taboos?

During a lengthy separation of a couple, is absolute sexual fidelity a realistic and psychologically healthy goal?

Is it in the best interest of a romantic relationship to participate in sexual intercourse if one is not in the mood?

Do you think it is harmful to think of masculinity and femininity in terms of roles?

What are the effects on romantic love and specifically sex, when one of the partners is experiencing frustration in his productive or creative efforts?

I've noticed that anger in my partner is sexually stimulating to me. Is this a personal excitement or is anger in some way related to sex?

Many women deny or subdue the full power of their sexual feelings because of a fear of being dominated or overpowered by the man. What are some of the psychological factors that give rise to this fear?

It is practical to assume that a person can be satisfied romantically and sexually with one person for life?

Can a romantic relationship survive when there's little or no privacy, due to the demands of children?

Do you think it’s more difficult for women that for men to make career choices?

Is there anything a woman can do to help a man when impotence occurs?

Seminar # 37 (June 1972)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

What are some of the most common reasons preventing women from achieving orgasm?

Do men go through a change of life similar to that which a woman goes through during menopause?

Could you give an example to concertize what you meant by using the vagina as a tool?

Is there anything inherent in the way women are brought up that makes it difficult for women to relate to women?

Can you explain the value of fantasy as a psychological tool for expanding awareness in the area of what is feminine and what is masculine?

Do you think that special quality that will or can lead to deep romantic involvement is always apparent from the beginning?

Why do you think my objectivity tends to evaporate when an attractive man enters the room?

What is your opinion of occasionally smoking a little pot to help relax prior to lovemaking?

Do you think the attitude that either you are in love or you are not inhibits male-female relating?

Do you think that I might lose my need for fulfillment in the creative field if I achieve a fulfilling romantic relationship?

What needs can one legitimately expect to be fulfilled in a romantic relationship?

Do you think the pressure on a woman, as she grows up, to “catch a man,” has any effect on a woman's sexual identity?

Would you discuss the ritualistic game that men and women commonly play when they first meet?

Is it necessary for both partners to have the same level of romantic interest in order for a relationship to work?

Seminar # 38 (July 1972)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

1. Would you elaborate on the importance of expressing negative feelings toward a partner, in order to keep positive feelings alive?

2. Is there cause for a woman to fear that if she forms a strong love relationship with a man, the odds are great against her being able to maintain her inner freedom and independence?

3. You once said that romantic partners should strive for deeper and deeper levels of intimacy. Would you elaborate on this?

4. Am I right in believing that there is no such thing as a frigid woman, if the man -woman relationship is right?

5. Could you say something about keeping alive the consideration and interest that couples have at the beginning of a romantic relationship.

6. It is possible for me to function well without sexual fulfillment for months. But once a meaningful romantic relationship begins, my sexual desires become almost overpowering. I s this a specific experience of mine or something that most women can relate to?

7. Are there negative effects if partners limit their interests only to things that can be mutually enjoyed?

8. What is your feeling about a couple who respect and admire each other, but find excitement in acting out and sharing each other’s sexual fantasies?

9. Is there anything inherent in the way women are brought up that makes it 'difficult for women to relate to women?

10. Is there any solution for the woman whose husband cannot tolerate any anger on her part towards him and who finds that, after learning to repress and inhibit this, she can no longer respond to him sexually?

11. Men often complain that women are actually role-playing when acting overly dependent... Do you think men do anything to encourage this behavior?

Seminar # 39 (August 1972)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

1. What are the qualities in a woman that make her popular with homosexuals?

2. Although some women often complain that men are always making passes at them, could they unconsciously be encouraging such responses?

3. Explain the psychological premise of a man who becomes infuriated at a suggestion from his wife, but in the company of others defers to everyone?

4. Can values be derived from a non-romantic male-female relationship that cannot be obtained from either a romantic relationship or from a friendship between members of the same sex?

5. Would you discuss those problems in a woman that are most likely to result in her becoming what is thought of as promiscuous?

6. What does it mean to be committed to a romantic relationship?

7. Do you think it will be possible in our lifetime for a new kind of relationship to take place between man and woman?

8. What do you think are the negative motives for women becoming mothers?

9. What do you think of the psychology of a man whose courting consists of presenting his problems and inadequacies to the girl?

10. What are some of the psychological problems that face couples following separation or divorce?

11. What are the causes of sex losing its excitement after a time, and what can be done about it?

12. My boyfriend and I have a close relationship, but we feel threatened by our partner's relationship with the opposite sex. Is this a normal response?

Seminar # 40 (September 1972)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

1. Is it meaningful to speak of a moral perspective on human behavior versus a psychological perspective?

2. Would you comment on the fact that many people, while professing a desire for happiness, do things to keep themselves unhappy?

3. Many people live with a secret, or not so secret fear of being ordinary. What is the significance of this fear, and what in your view are the most important psychological factors that result in a person being non-ordinary, or original?

4. Would you comment on the reports that the problem of depression is very much on the increase in our culture?

5. I have the impression that certain occupations such as medicine, psychology, psychiatry I social work and police work tend to produce on the part of ~heir practitioners a rather negative attitude toward people. How do you account for this?

6. Would you say that between your first book The Psychology of Self Esteem and your most recent book The Disowned Self there's been any challenge of view point concerning the relation of morality or ethics to psychology or psychotherapy?

Seminar # 41 (October 1972)

Nathaniel Branden answers:

Mr. Branden describes and discusses one of the techniques which he uses in the course of counseling to help couples explore personal problems and increase communication and intimacy – a technique which couples can utilize without professional assistance.

Seminar # 42 (November 1972)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

1. If young children can turn off the world as a natural defense mechanism against traumatic experiences or continual abusive treatment, to what extent can or should they be held responsible for later improper and even criminal action?

2. Is there any evidence that sex with a number of different individuals after marriage is psychologically harmful?

3. Your use of the terms "masculine" and "feminine" seemed to change from your first Romantic Love lectures to the recorded version. Did you change your definition? How would you now define these terms?

4. Assuming you agree that there is a basic difference between t he sex drives of men and women, can you account for this?

5. What are the most common reasons that people find it difficult to verbalize their feelings, particularly in the context of a marriage?

6 .Do you think that a certain length of time is necessary before a person can say with certainty that he or she is really in love?

7. Do you view guilt as a natural emotion that one will feel simply because one is human, or must guilt be learned through inculcating a particular way of viewing moral principles?

8. Is everyone capable of experiencing the most exciting and rewarding kind or level of romantic love, including and especially sexually, or is this dependent on one's values, emotional adjustment, intellect, etc.?

9. In The Primal Scream, Arthur Janov says that a healthy person has no      psychological needs that such needs arise only when a person has    repressed his awareness of his biological needs. What is your view of this?

10. Do you consider the influence of existential philosophy, and particularly the emphasis on the discovery of the inner self, to be a) emotionally constructive, and b) growing?

11. Is it essential for a person who helps others with their psychological problems to have had problems of his own?

12. Do you think that man is born with talents, .and if so, how does this tie in with the contention that man is born tabula rasa?

13. Do you see any long range benefits from direct political activity by Objectivists and other libertarians, or do you think we can become influential by continuing to use the educational approach?

14. Is it practical to attempt to establish libertarian colonies or self-supporting systems in the present day world?

15. Within a libertarian framework, the FCC would do nothing more than protect the property rights of the people who own the TV and radio stations. Who-is going to safeguard viewers from subtle forms of media brainwashing such as subliminal flashes?

16. Two reasons why businesses incorporate are tax benefits and limited liability. Under a non-coercive governmental structure, presumably the former would not apply and the latter would be nonexistent. Couldn't one then predict the end of large businesses because of lack of invested capital?

17. Is a conflict between good and evil an essential element in a romantic novel?

Seminar # 43 (December 1972)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

1. How important is language in the thinking process?

2. Is knowledge of such theoretical disciplines as semantics and linguistics valuable in learning to think efficiently?

3. What do you think of the idea that a basic knowledge of at least one foreign language other than one's native language is essential to clear thinking?

4. Will you describe the differences between our abstract knowledge, and our felt or realized knowledge?

5. Martin Heidegger postulated that people's lives are dominated by what he called a core emotion. A fundamental feeling about existence that underlies and influences all other more transitory feelings. Do you think it is so?

6. Would you elaborate on the following sentence from The Psychology of Self Esteem: It must be emphasized that productive achievement is a consequence and expression of healthy self-esteem, not its cause?

7. Do you think there is a difference in the psychological makeup between an artistic person and a non-artistic person?

8. Do you subscribe to any of the genetic or chemical theories concerning the origins of the schizophrenic or the psychopathic personality?

9. If you had to name one thing that keeps people from being as creative as they could be, what would it be?

10. If a person always acts strictly on his own judgment, is it still a type of social metaphysics for him to possess a craving for the good opinion of other people?

11. Am I physically attracted to the female body because in my culture it is generally clothed or is there a deeper basis for this attraction?

12. Should there be any difference in the manner in which a mother and a father talk with their children, react to their children and' guide their children?

13.To what extent and in what sense could a mother be primarily to blame for the birth of emotional and sexual disturbances in her child?

14. Is there any reason to believe that more and more psychologists are acknowledging the phenomena of the psychological destructiveness of religion?

15. If a person is aware that he's emotionally repressed, and he's working to de-repress, can he repress additional material despite his being on guard?

Seminar # 44 (January 1973)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

1. Do you think a person can love someone, say a member 'Of his family, without really liking them?

2. Are there necessary ties between emotional repression and sexual deviation?

3. Given an anti-sexual childhood, what further is needed to propel a person into homosexuality, another into voyeurism, another into masochism, another into exhibitionism, etc.?

4. Can a homosexual fall in love?

5. What specific therapeutic techniques do you employ in the various types of sexual deviation you encounter?

6. Can an Objectivist be hypnotized, how does he go about it?

7. Have you ever been aware of a patient becoming dependent on you in a therapy situation to their detriment? If so, how do you deal with such a problem?

8. What pleases you most about doing therapy, not in the abstract, but in a specific process of working with clients?

9. To what extent do you find the principal characters of Atlas Shrugged psychologically     believable, specifically do you find their ways of dealing with pain and defeat believable?

10. You have been criticized for statements in the Reason interview about the unreal psychology involved in, for example, Frisco's celibacy or Dominique's attempts to halt Roark's career. Specifically that these statements indicate a lessening of your belief in the virtue of loyalty to values. Would you comment on this?

11. Do you agree with Ayn Rand's statement that Emanuel Kant is quote, the most evil man in mankind's history, or do you believe that Kant's influence in philosophical history has not been entirely unfortunate?

Seminar # 45 (February 1973)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

1. Do you consider Objectivist aesthetics to be like Objectivist psychology, an unfortunate formulation?

2. In Objectivist aesthetics, art claims universality. What is it that gives art universality?

3. What do you think the function of an art critic should be?

4. Do you think it’s possible to translate a literary work or print a painting without losing some of the original, since the medium has been changed?

5. How would you identify the quality which seems to be lost when explicit sexuality is introduced into art?

6. It is popular to consider artists as hypersensitive, antisocial and all around eccentrics. What is the origin of this?

7. Could you hypothesize why so many writers, especially poets, become addicts, alcoholics and suicides?

8. How important is an audience to the psychological health of an artist?

9. Why does the experience of pain seem to be beneficial to the creation of art?

10. How do you characterize the psycho-epistemological difference between cognition and artistic creation?

11. What explanation can you give for the phenomenon of the artist who can think with great clarity metaphorically but who is much less capable of general cognitive clarity?

12. In your understanding, what is a metaphysical value judgment?

13. You have written that every work of art is a psychological confession. What do you see as the difference between the artist's psychological confession and the, quote, metaphysical value judgments, unquote?

14. You have said that art can provide man with an invaluable emotional fuel. Why can't other aspects of reality provide the same thing?

15. Psychologically what type of person is drawn to art with distorted or unintelligible subjects and what does he get from it?

16. Ayn Rand has written that, in art, quote, what an irrational man seeks to see is a justification, unquote. Do you agree with this statement and could you translate it into psychological language?

17. To what extent are the reader's responses of pleasure and boredom, etc. relevant to an objective critical evaluation of the work he is reading?

18. Can you think of any situations in which the distortion of the subject of a work of art would not be a vice?

Seminar # 46 (March 1973)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

1. Can an artist deliberately lie through his art and concertize a point of view with which he is not in sympathy?

2. Does an author's neurosis deeply influence his style?

3. Do you agree with Oscar Wilde who once wrote "there is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book, books are well written or badly written, that is all"?

4. If an artist creates a work so complex and so abstruse that no one could understand it, even though it would be possible to understand it, is it a work of art?

5. Could a work of art be considered perfect if absolutely everything within that work organized itself around a single theme or organizing principle?

6. Why are today's heroes and villains almost always involved in stories with excessive violence and little plot?

7. Many admirers of THE FOUNTAINHEAD consider the movie version to have been an artistic failure, yet it was very faithful to the novel. Do you agree?

8. What constitutes children's literature as opposed to adult literature, assuming both are equally well written?

9. How would you account for the perennial popularity of comedy?

10. You have publicly repudiated your portrait of Ayn Rand in your book WHO IS AYN RAN D? Do you still stand behind the statements you make in your chapter The Literary Method of Ayn Rand?

11. What is your personal preference in reading novels? Plot or characterization?

12. After literature what is your favorite art form?

13. To what extent do you think an artist needs a familiarity with the theory of his art in order to create effective works of art?

14. What subject areas outside of aesthetics itself do you consider most beneficial for artists to master and why?

15. What advice would you give to a rational young artist beginning his or her career in 1973?

16. Why among libertarians who can be very politically interested and oriented does there seem to be such a disproportionately low interest in art?

17. Do you think it makes any sense to call an author who writes fiction or poetry with non-political themes a libertarian author?

18. What is the place of the artist, specifically the literary artist, in the libertarian movement?

19. Is there a place in the Objectivist conception of romanticism for the tragedy?

20. Besides obviously the promulgation of rational philosophy, what can you think 01 which would aid greatly in an artistic renaissance?

Seminar # 47 (April 1973)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

1. What is it that makes a personality a personality?

2. Can the changes a person makes in therapy be of a permanent nature if he does not have a full intellectual understanding of the problems that brought him to therapy?

3. You stated that the woman's orgasmic capacity is not necessarily related to her mental health? Could you elaborate on this?

4. Do you believe it possible a romantic relationship will remain strong if either party becomes involved in an extra relationship affair?

5. If a person is aware that he is drawn to a particular individual for primarily neurotic reasons, for example a homosexual relationship, does he necessarily compound his problems by entering into or continuing such a relationship?

6. Do you see any significant difference between Ayn Rand's definition of femininity and a standard concept of woman as an appendage of man?

7. Under what circumstances, if any, do you believe pornography, i.e. the depiction of explicit even grotesque sexuality can be psychologically harmful to children?

8. Which subsumes which -a person's psychology or that person's sense of life? If neither subsumes the other, how are these two related?

9. You have come out in the past against man possessing instincts. In situations of extreme terror, for example, of what mental operation are palpitations, hair standing on end, vomiting, etc., the results if not the results of instinct?

10. Do you think that man's awareness of his own mortality is what motivates him to create and achieve?

11. Why do some people feel a great need to find answers while others don't see the contradictions in the answers they've been taught to accept?

12. Do you regard perception as a component of reason? Since other animals perceive wouldn't that position lead to a contradiction?

13. What in your view is the relationship between philosophy and science? Specifically do you view philosophy as a kind of science?

Seminar # 48 (May 1973)

Nathaniel Branden answers the following questions:

1.What is common sense in your understanding, specifically as distinguished from reason and or from logic?

2. What should be the fundamental purpose of a rational penal system?

3. John Hospers is reported to have said during his campaign that since people had bought government bonds and paid social security taxes in good faith, taxation for these kinds of programs would have to continue until obligations were met. Do you agree with his position?

4. Do you favor complete amnesty for draft dodgers? If not, why not?

5. Why do you think that so few philosophers throughout history have defended egoism?

6. Do you think it appropriate to speak of persons being immoral or evil rather than simply so describing their general behavior?

7. If a novel has no theme, can it be a romantic novel? Can it be a romantic novel if it has no plot? What principle establishes these facts?

8. A major problem for any teleological ethical system that posits happiness as a supreme or ultimate value is that definitions of happiness and other emotional states are notoriously vague and subjective. What are your views on this?

9. What is the difference between saying that a man is responsible for an action and saying that he is morally responsible for an action?

10.In your experience how important is the proper nutrition of a person in therapy?

11. Do you see any hopeful indications of the dissemination of Objectivist ideas generally in the philosophical or psychological intellectual communities?

12. You were asked on the first Seminar recording about the future of Objectivism. Would you add anything to your answer if the question were put to you today, four years later, or about the freedom movement in general?

13. What has Seminar records accomplished?