Special Issue: A Symposium
Nathaniel Branden: His Work and Legacy
Volume 16, Numbers 1 & 2 – 2016
Nathaniel Branden (1930-2014) was a crucial figure in the life of Ayn Rand and her philosophy. A brilliant psychotherapist and “father” of the self-esteem movement, he made important contributions to the theory and practice of Objectivism. So far, however, his life and influence have never been the subject of a book or collection of articles. The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (JARS) long intended to fill this gap by publishing an interdisciplinary collection of studies about the many facets of his work. With his death on December 3, 2014, JARS received too many valuable essays to publish in a single issue. Now, two years after Branden’s passing, and for the first time in our sixteen-year history, we offer not only a double issue but one that will be available in print and as a Kindle edition. Our contributors — who include Tal Ben-Shahar, Roger E. Bissell, Susan Love Brown, Robert L. Campbell, Stephen Cox, Walter Foddis, Teresa I. Morales Gerbaud, Mimi Reisel Gladstein, Roderick T. Long, Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Andrew Schwartz, Duncan Scott, Deepak Sethi, Michael E. Southern, and Joel F. Wade — represent a wide array of perspectives and disciplines, such as political theory, history, philosophy, literature, anthropology, business, film, and both academic and clinical psychology. Also presented is the first print publication of a transcribed 1996 lecture (and its Q&A session), “Objectivism: Past and Future,” by Nathaniel Branden, as well as the most comprehensive annotated bibliography yet produced on Branden and the secondary literature regarding his life and work.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PROLOGUE, pp. 1–14
The coeditors of this special double issue of the journal focus attention on the need to reassess the work and legacy of Ayn Rand’s friend and collaborator Nathaniel Branden (1930-2014). This introduction explains why they asked a diverse group of scholars to examine Branden’s entire body of work from his Randian period through his years as the father of the self-esteem movement.
SECTION I: THE RAND YEARS
THE MOVEMENT THAT BEGAN ON A DINING ROOM TABLE, pp. 15–24
It is well known that Nathaniel Branden was instrumental in launching the Objectivist movement. But less well known is how unlikely that achievement was. This article throws a spotlight on what this one man — almost single-handedly — accomplished. The author argues that an Objectivist movement was hardly inevitable. Ayn Rand’s lifelong focus had always been fiction and she had little interest in creating, or even allowing, a movement built around her ideas. Branden overcame her objections, proved that a movement based on her philosophy would succeed, and laid the groundwork for the efforts that continue today.
NATHANIEL BRANDEN’S OEDIPUS COMPLEX, pp. 25–40
In Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden told the story of how he met Ayn Rand and became involved with her philosophy of Objectivism. But he also shared the story of his own life and the personal details of his romantic involvement with Ayn Rand. Applying an Oedipal interpretation to the life details that Branden provides, this article shows how Branden came to terms with his own developmental struggles by adopting a surrogate family in Ayn Rand and Frank O’Connor and ultimately found the family he needed in order to eventually break free and become his own person.
OBJECTIVISM: PAST AND FUTURE: LECTURE AND QUESTION-ANSWER SESSION, pp. 41–97
In this lecture by Nathaniel Branden given on 23 November 1996 before the California Institute for Applied Objectivism, the late psychotherapist and theorist discusses the past and future of the philosophy of Ayn Rand, with which he was associated for many years. The lecture and question-answer session were transcribed by Roger E. Bissell from the recording made by Joshua Zader, currently President and Lead Developer of Atlas Web Development. Leigh Branden, the executor of Nathaniel Branden’s estate, has graciously given permission to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies to publish this material for the first time.
SECTION II: REFLECTIONS
REFLECTIONS ON MY HERO, NATHANIEL BRANDEN, pp. 98–105
The author shares thoughts on his favorite philosophical and psychological writings by Nathaniel Branden, recollections of the man’s wit and wisdom, and appreciation for his openness to and encouragement of new therapeutic techniques and pathbreaking ideas in the Objectivist milieu.
THE IMPACT OF NATHANIEL BRANDEN, pp. 106–7
The author reflects on the impact Nathaniel Branden and his works had on her life and career.
MY ARISTOTLE, pp. 108–11
The author discusses Nathaniel Branden’s influence on his personal and professional life.
PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON NATHANIEL BRANDEN: MY GURU AND MORE, pp. 112–14
The author discusses how the work of Nathaniel Branden inspired him to seek out and learn from him. They coauthored an article that reached business audiences and was very well received. The two worked together to integrate segments on self-esteem in an innovative and highly acclaimed weeklong Leadership Development Program that the author had designed. Branden’s participation in these programs integrated his sentence completion techniques into leadership sessions, and posed new challenges on how to connect the insights from this exercise and its impact on leadership behaviors in the work environment.
MY YEARS WITH NATHANIEL BRANDEN, pp. 115–78
The author discusses his relationship with Nathaniel Branden from several perspectives, as client, intern, professional associate, and friend. As a client of Branden’s, he provides firsthand documentation of his experiences, which illuminates some of the important contributions Branden brought to the field of psychology. Among the “six pillars” Branden identified as the foundation of a healthy self-esteem, the author focuses primarily on self-acceptance. He further explores Branden’s eclectic array of therapeutic tools, including sentence completions, sub-personality work, and experimental Energy Psychology. The author credits Branden for having a huge impact on his psychological and intellectual development.
SECTION III: “IF BRANDEN’S WORKS WERE STUDIED MORE BY ACADEMIC AND CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGISTS . . .”
AN ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGIST REMEMBERS NATHANIEL BRANDEN, pp. 179–86
Reading The Psychology of Self-Esteem helped the author to choose psychology as a career, yet he became a theoretician and a researcher rather than a clinician. These are his personal thoughts about Nathaniel Branden, with particular emphasis on the gulf between academic research and clinical practice, and Branden’s incomplete success at bridging it.
BRANDEN’S SELF-ESTEEM THEORY WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGY, pp. 187–206
The author proposes an integrated definition and theory of self-esteem that merges models from developmental, social, and clinical psychology. He identifies optimal, shared sources of self-esteem that he combines into a multidimensional model called the Intrapersonal Sources of Self-Esteem Theory. Based on this multidimensional theory, he designed a qualitative and quantitative measuring instrument, the Self-Esteem Sentence Completion Instrument, to assess people’s sources of self-esteem. He discusses research that applies this instrument, which suggests promising results in understanding self-esteem. Finally, he suggests a clinical application of the theory within a cognitive-behavioral therapy paradigm.
NATHANIEL BRANDEN’S LEGACY TO THE SCIENCE OF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY, pp. 207–17
This article presents a summary of the key aspects of the Biocentric theory of psychology proposed and developed by Nathaniel Branden. The themes of the conscious and nonconscious aspects of the mind and their interplay in healthy and psychopathological human functioning are highlighted, with the development and maintenance of self-esteem as the centerpiece of this schema. Branden’s cogent, in-depth analysis and synthesis of these issues, presented for the first time over fifty years ago, is discussed in relation to issues that are being actively researched today.
ADLER, BRANDEN, AND THE THIRD WAVE BEHAVIOR THERAPISTS: NATHANIEL BRANDEN IN THE CONTEXT OF THE HISTORY OF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY, pp. 218–37
This article situates Nathaniel Branden’s unique contributions to clinical psychology in the cognitive and behavioral therapy traditions, and describes ways in which Brandenian concepts were prefigured in the work of Alfred Adler and have been echoed in the work of modern behavior therapists, most notably Steven Hayes and Marsha Linehan. A dialectical sensibility common to all these contributors is noted. The article concludes with a reflection on Branden’s sociological fate, offering an analogy between Freud’s rejection of Adler and Milton Erickson’s rejection of Branden, reported here in print for the first time.
NATHANIEL BRANDEN AND DEVERS BRANDEN AND THE DISCIPLINE OF HAPPINESS, pp. 238–43
The author discusses his personal experiences with Nathaniel Branden and Devers Branden, as friends and mentors, which began with a weekend Intensive in 1980 and continued for over thirty-five years. He examines the ways in which these experiences shaped his life, a description of some of the work with “sub-personalities” that Nathaniel and Devers developed together, and the conception of happiness as a discipline.
EPILOGUE: NATHANIEL BRANDEN IN THE WRITER’S WORKSHOP, pp. 244–59
Nathaniel Branden was both inspired by imaginative literature and ambitious to create it himself. The history of his literary relationship with the author provides important insights into his intellectual character, his aesthetic interests, and his literary ability.
THE NATHANIEL BRANDEN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, pp. 260–94
This bibliography constitutes the most extensive compilation of references on Nathaniel Branden yet published.
INDEX TO VOLUME 16 (ISSUES 31–32, 2016), pp. 295–96
Tal Ben-Shahar has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and psychology from Harvard University, and earned his Ph.D. at Harvard in Organizational Behavior. He taught two of the largest classes in Harvard University’s history, “Positive Psychology” and “The Psychology of Leadership.” He has co-founded and is the chief learning officer of Potentialife, The Wholebeing Institute, Maytiv, and Happier.TV. He has championed the use of behavioral science and technology to bring the benefits of positive psychology to individuals worldwide. His lectures encompass wide-ranging topics, including leadership, happiness, education, innovation, ethics, self-esteem, resilience, goal setting, and mindfulness. A frequent lecturer and consultant to multinational corporations, educational institutions, and the general public, he is the author of such books as Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment (McGraw-Hill Education, 2007), and Being Happy: You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Lead a Richer, Happier Life (McGraw-Hill Education, 2010), and Choose The Life You Want (The Experiment, 2014). His works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages, and have appeared on bestseller lists around the world. The author is also an avid sportsman, who has won the U.S. Intercollegiate and Israeli National squash championships. Today, for exercise, he swims, dances, and practices Yoga.
Roger E. Bissell is a professional musician and a writer on philosophy and psychology, specializing in aesthetics, logic and epistemology, and personality type theory. He is a research associate with the Molinari Institute, and his work has appeared in a number of other publications, including Reason Papers, Objectivity, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vera Lex, and ART Ideas. His mock transcription of a lecture by the fictional composer Richard Halley was published in Edward W. Younkins’s 2007 compilation, Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”: A Philosophical and Literary Companion, and he supervised the transcription of Nathaniel Branden’s lectures for the 2009 publication of The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism, and of Barbara Branden’s lecture course, “Principles of Efficient Thinking”. Most recently, he published his first book, How the Martians Discovered Algebra: Explorations in Induction and the Philosophy of Mathematics, available from Amazon Kindle. He also frequently performs on recording sessions and jazz engagements, and his CDs feature his trombone playing, singing, musical arrangements, and original compositions.
Nathaniel Branden, 9 April 1930 – 3 December 2014, was an associate of Ayn Rand’s and founder of the Nathaniel Branden Institute, which disseminated lectures on Objectivism globally. After his break from Rand in 1968, Branden went on to become a psychotherapist and the “father” of the self-esteem movement, publishing books such as The Psychology of Self-Esteem, Breaking Free, The Disowned Self, The Psychology of Romantic Love, Honoring the Self, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, My Years with Ayn Rand, and The Vision of Ayn Rand, which was published in 2009, the first print version of his original course on the “Basic Principles of Objectivism.”
Susan Love Brown is Professor of Anthropology at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. She is a political and psychological anthropologist with special interests in intentional communities and American individualist anarchism. She is the editor of Intentional Community: An Anthropological Perspective (SUNY, 2001) and a number of articles about Ayn Rand. In 2013, she received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Communal Studies Association. In 2015–16, she was the Lifelong Learning Professor of Current Affairs at Florida Atlantic University. Additional interests include gender, ethnicity, and social evolution.
Robert L. Campbell, a Professor of Psychology at Clemson University, is the coauthor, with John Chambers Christopher, of “Moral Development Theory: A Critique of its Kantian Presuppositions” (Developmental Review, 1996). Without Nathaniel Branden’s influence and example, there is a good chance he would not have written it.
Stephen Cox is Distinguished Professor of Literature and Director of the Humanities Program at the University of California, San Diego. Since 1987 he has served as Editor and since 2005 as Editor in Chief of Liberty magazine. He is a founding editor of JARS. His work has engaged several fields: cultural history (The Titanic Story, 1999; The Big House: Image and Reality of the American Prison, 2009); economics and literature (Literature and the Economics of Liberty, coedited with Paul Cantor, 2009); religious texts and history (The New Testament and Literature: A Guide to Literary Patterns, 2006; Changing and Remaining: A History of All Saints’ Church San Diego, 2011; American Christianity: The Continuing Revolution, 2014); and the history of radical individualism (The Stranger Within Thee: Concepts of the Self in Late-Eighteenth-Century Literature, 1980; Love and Logic: The Evolution of Blake’s Thought, 1992; and The Woman and the Dynamo: Isabel Paterson and the Idea of America, 2004). His other work on Paterson, Rand’s influential mentor, includes the jubilee edition of Paterson’s The God of the Machine, 1993; and a recent, extensively annotated edition of her shorter writings, Culture and Liberty, 2015. He has repeatedly been recognized for excellence in teaching by the students and faculty of UC San Diego.
Walter F. Foddis is a returning doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. His dissertation research tests an integrated theory of self-esteem called the Intrapersonal Sources Theory of Self-Esteem, which draws from Nathaniel Branden’s self-esteem theory, in addition to other major theories from clinical, developmental, and social psychology. Important to his research is a novel qualitative and quantitative instrument that he designed to assess a person’s sources of self-esteem, called the Self-Esteem Sentence Completion Instrument, which can also be used for clinical assessment of self-esteem. He has presented his research at conferences by the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, Canadian Psychological Association, and Society for Personality and Social Psychology. His clinical training is primarily in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for mood and anxiety disorders, and incorporates other therapeutic models as needed such as Schema Therapy and Compassion-Focused Therapy. He completed his clinical residency at the Alberta Health Consortium in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His clinical rotations included working with adolescent offenders, adolescent sex offenders, an adult population, and a geriatric population (assessment only). During his residency, within a CBT paradigm, he helped revise the self-esteem module for an adult group treatment program for depression. Previous education includes a Bachelor of Commerce (1992) and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with Honors (1999), both from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. One of his passions outside psychology is songwriting. Streaming of his recorded work with the pop rock band, Intransition, can be found online. He hopes to have new, recorded music within the year. He contributes to a blog on the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers, in which he discusses the team and its players from an analytics perspective. If science applied to hockey appeals to you, check out his blog.
Mimi Reisel Gladstein is Professor of English and Theatre Arts, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas 79968, where she has chaired the English and Philosophy Departments twice, was the first Director of Women’s Studies, Associate Dean of Liberal Arts, and Chair of Theatre, Dance, and Film. She has written three books on Ayn Rand and co-edited one, Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand. A co-edited volume on the Chicano artist and writer José Antonio Burciaga won an American Book Award, a Southwest Book Award and a Latino Book Award. Gladstein’s work in Steinbeck studies has been recognized with the Burkhart Award for Research and the Pruis Award for teaching. In 2011, she was inducted into the El Paso Commission for Women Hall of Fame and the El Paso County Historical Society Hall of Honor.
Roderick T. Long, Professor, Department of Philosophy, 6080 Haley Center, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36849, A.B. Harvard 1985, Ph.D. Cornell 1992, is the author of Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand (The Objectivist Center, 2000) and Wittgenstein, Austrian Economics, and the Logic of Action: Praxeological Investigations (Routledge, forthcoming), as well as coeditor (with Tibor R. Machan) of Anarchism/Minarchism: Is a Government Part of a Free Country? (Ashgate, 2008). He runs an anarchist think tank, the Molinari Institute; edits The Industrial Radical; blogs at Austro-Athenian Empire as well as Bleeding Heart Libertarians; and is active in the Center for a Stateless Society and the Alliance of the Libertarian Left. He is also a coeditor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.
Teresa I. Morales Gerbaud is a doctor of biochemistry (Ph.D., 1975, University of Miami). Her professional career includes positions as staff scientist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as a faculty appointment as Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston (2004-2013), and Director of the Laboratory of Orthopaedic Biochemistry at the Massachusetts General Hospital from 2003-2011. She is author of nearly thirty original research publications in peer-reviewed biomedical journals and six book chapters. She is also deeply interested in psychology, which she studied at the Harvard School of Continuing Education (M.A., Harvard University Extension School, 2013). She is presently a doctoral student of Clinical Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Diego, California.
Andrew Schwartz is a psychotherapist practicing in Austin, Texas. He received his M.A. in counseling from St. Edward’s University and his B.A. from Antioch University Los Angeles. His article “Self-as-Organism and Sense of Self: Toward a Differential Conception” appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of this journal. His interests include the development and elucidation of a broad-based therapeutic approach oriented around an inclusive account of his field’s rich history.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra received his B.A. in political theory, economics, and history (with honors), his M.A. in political theory and methodology, and his Ph.D., with distinction, in political theory, philosophy, and methodology from New York University. He is the author of the “Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy,” which includes Marx, Hayek, and Utopia (State University of New York Press, 1995), Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995; expanded second edition, 2013), and Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000). He is also coeditor, with Mimi Reisel Gladstein, of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), and a founding coeditor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (1999–present). He has written over a dozen encyclopedia entries dealing with Objectivism and libertarianism, given over 50 interviews published in such periodicals as The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Village Voice, and The Economist, and published over 150 essays, which have appeared in publications as diverse as Critical Review, Reason Papers, Liberty, Reason, The New York Daily News, Film Score Monthly, Jazz Times, Just Jazz Guitar, and Billboard.
Duncan Scott is a filmmaker with over one hundred fifty productions to his credit including programs for ABC-TV, PBS, The Rockefeller Trust, Bell Atlantic, the American Museum of Natural History, New York State Department of Health, and the Chicago Nature Museum. He has won four Emmy Awards, two Telly Awards, and a Peabody Award nomination. He majored in theater arts at the School of Performing Arts in New York City and Santa Monica College. Early in his career, he worked as an assistant director on feature films, including Deathtrap, Nighthawks, and Zelig, where he worked alongside directors such as Woody Allen, Richard Brooks and Sidney Lumet. He is a specialist in adaptations of the works of Ayn Rand for screen and stage. He worked closely with Ayn Rand years ago, along with coproducers Hank Holzer and Erika Holzer, on the restoration of the film classic, We the Living (1942), which his company distributes. He was one of the screenwriters of Atlas Shrugged: Part Two (2012), was Consulting Producer for Atlas Shrugged: Part Three (2014) for which he also contributed to the screenplay. He was a screenplay consultant to Barbara Branden on The Passion of Ayn Rand (1999). He directed his own stage play adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novella, Anthem (2006). He created the Objectivist History Project for which he interviewed dozens of pioneers of the Objectivist movement.
Deepak (Dick) Sethi is CEO of Organic Leadership, a consulting firm that designs innovative programs that uniquely include the power of informal learning and the mind-body connection. He also conducts leadership development audits that can result in major cost savings. He is a leading speaker, and his work has been the topic of major stories in the Wall Street Journal and other publications. He was senior vice president of the Society for Human Resource Management, was Vice President of Leadership Development at Thomson Corporation, and managed Executive Education at AT&T.
Michael E. Southern has held various management and sole contributor positions in technology at Fortune 500 companies, currently as a specialist in software development methodologies at Valassis, Inc. His earlier work included an internship and then office manager at Nathaniel Branden’s Biocentric Institute in Beverly Hills, California. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Northeastern University, a Master of Science in Management from Lesley College, and a Master of Science in Information Systems from Boston University.
Joel F. Wade, Ph.D. is the author of Mastering Happiness, drawing from the research in psychology in general, and the field of Positive Psychology in particular. He has spent over three decades as a teacher, Marriage and Family Therapist, and Life Coach, working with people around the world via phone and Skype. He has written regularly for a variety of publications, including American Thinker, The Daily Bell, The New Individualist, The Good Men Project , and the Oxford Club’s Beyond Wealth columns. As a speaker, he enjoys teaching clear, practical skills and ideas that can be used immediately, inspiring his listeners to take effective steps toward a more rewarding, joyful, and resilient life.
Objectivism Online Forum (24 December 2016)
Boydstun also provides additional information on the secondary literature on Nathaniel Branden that appeared in the journal Objectivity (posted 25 December 2016).
- “Southern Exposure: ‘Branden Saved Years of My Life’” (17 May 2017).
- “Nathaniel Branden, In His Own Words” (1 May 2017).
- “‘Nathaniel Branden’s Oedipus Complex’ by Susan Love Brown” (14 April 2017).
- “The Legacy of Nathaniel Branden” (6 April 2017).
“For the New Intellectual” (30 December 2016).