In her lengthy essay “The Comprachicos,” Rand examines the pervasive intellectual influence in education, Progressive education, and finds it thoroughly . Ayn Rand and Contemporary Business Ethics, Part Three. December 26, Consequences of the Dualism: Target Inequalities, Part Three In all most. These are my comments on The Comprachicos, an essay by Ayn Rand found in.

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We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. Ayn Rand writes mainly about the status quo and what and who is to be blamed for such circumstances. She talks of a miseducation so ingenious that when one reads about it one simply gets baffled as he is forced to look into his own experiences from the home, to the school, to the Church and in the province or in the city.

One can expect to see various parallelisms with how he is brought up and what he is usually told by his superiors.

This is what makes us man, Rand says, our capability to ajn rational. Rand believes that man is rational and that this characteristic is, by itself unyielding. Rationality is that which enables any man to; even with the worst education given to him feel that something is wrong because things appear blurred to him, that things must have clarity for it to appear blurred in the first place.

This is because of his rationality which naturally is the opposite of the fake, the submission, the uncertainty and the chaos. Man is rational because he has a mind. It does not have innate contents; it is on the other hand waiting to be written upon by the experiences to come. ran

Rand says that it has the potential for awareness, with a conscious and a subconscious mind that he must learn to operate to be able to construct inferences about the perceptions he will make. Thus, one can easily see how important it is for every child to be given enough opportunity to develop this potential ay in the years of his life that it is most needed.

The Psychology and Philosophy of Education of Ayn Rand in The Comprachicos Essay Example for Free

When he reaches his third year, Rand says, his cognitive development is completed. He has acquired the things he need, what he has to do at this point is to use them. How he uses his cognitive tools will determine how well his conceptual ability will be when he grows older.

By this, he can then retain the knowledge gained in his consciousness and move on to new information so that gradually, he will learn to integrate the old and new inputs and thus establish relationships between them.

This will guide the child in understanding the basic concept of time-continuity and in internalizing a projection of the future instead of acting on whatever he feels like doing in the moment. If the simple idea of having something like tomorrow, or even later, and that what is done at the moment affects the time thereafter is introduced to the child, he will inevitably practice his rational faculty because he needs to look at all his choices and reason when he is choosing among the different alternatives.

He needs to think and debate by himself what best could be done in the situation because the consequences of it would always have a lot of implications. Rand postulates that if a child is given the chance to exercise his reason, being caught in an event where he has to make decisions will not be much of a hurdle for him.

To have a disposition requires that one should have a firm ground to stand his beliefs on.

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This is why Rand tells us that it is wrong to place the children in an comprachicoos that would not help him be secured about an objective world, one that would only make him settle for the company of persons the same age as he is and of course do not know any better.

What he needs, says Rand is cognitive guidance especially to acquaint him to the reality instead of making him adjust to a group of people he does not know and lose himself in the process. In getting to know the reality, Rand talks of the Montessori Method which utilizes materials that are didactic thus very useful wyn child learning because it provides a solution that the child needs to discover by actively thinking of how to do it.

Instructive materials, Rand moreover says introduces the child to a sense of order since it is directed to a right answer or a right way. During this stage, Rand says that a child can only identify objects around him and its characteristics as it appears to him.

The child cannot comprehend its other properties like height, volume, color and so on. This is why at this time, it is best to provide for the child special exercises of attending, observing, comparing and classifying.

It is significant to note in my opinion how the previous knowledge learned leads to the knowledge learned later and how the knowledge learned later reinforces the comprachjcos learned earlier. When the child is introduced to the reality and becomes more and more aware of his own self, Rand implies that the time for language, particularly speech comes. This is a start for him to have a sense of belongingness, an idea which is necessary as Rand says to be an active and intelligent explorer of the world.

All learning involves a process of automizing, Rand has stated. How else better to bring out the will of the child in learning and thinking critically than to let him use practice his cognitive abilities especially in the age when he is most up and ready for it?

Rand stresses that educators should not let this time pass because what could have been a joyful activity of enhancing his mind when the child is young will turn to be an extremely strenuous task when he gets older. Rand also gives favor of understanding as a method of learning over memorizing.


Understanding means to grasp the content and the essentials of a thing, an event or a concept, to establish relationships between these essentials and what was previously known in the past and most importantly, integrate it with other subjects. By understanding is how the child will learn reading, for instance. Another method Rand despises is the Discussion Method.

As implied, she prefers to have a teacher in the classroom to guide the students in learning about the subject and to not let them carry the learning process by their premature knowledge.

Besides the obvious fact that to learn is why they come to school in the first place, Rand prescribes that the teacher really teach what he expertly knows because to leave the deliberation to the students is to give them an illusion that they can know without being taught; that they can claim expertise without really learning.

It is not possible to learn from this method because as Rand tells us, the students are clueless about that which is supposed to be lectured. I think that the reason why Rand says that this method is inappropriate for the students is because the mind prior to learning about the subject is, to say still immature.

By this immaturity, they are driven to be hostile people, indulging them to the guilty habits of criticism instead of creativity for they mistakenly think that to demolish a bad argument is to construct a good one. We can see very clearly here how Rand takes it to be an awfully big mistake to leave students of any age unguided and left to themselves when they in fact need to learn and thus to be taught by a superior more knowledgeable than him. To conclude, Rand takes the psychology and philosophy of Maria Montessori and John Locke in her basic idea of education.

Her metaphysics on the one hand rests on the basic idea that there is an objective reality that the child will naturally belong to; in which he will find proper distinction between existence and consciousness.

Her epistemology on the other hand lies on the thought that every person is born without knowledge but has the potential to exercise his rational capacity if given the due opportunities for development. Implied then by her basic ideas derived from Montessori and Locke, Rand takes a common stance with the position of Perennialism.

She also holds that cognitive training is best started as soon as possible, which is in the nursery level because it is when the child is most ready and willing to learn about the reality and that to delay, or even worse to provide what I may call a wrong education will greatly impede his reason which is his basic means of survival; his reason. Pragmatism, especially that of John Dewey is just one of the various positions contended by Rand.

Perhaps the most apparent distinctions that can be made between these two views is the way they regard reality and everything in it — human experience, ideas, truth and so on. On the one hand, Rand believes that reality is objective and unchanging and that the experience man derives from this reality is primarily for his own ends alone.

The New Comprachicos

On the other hand, Pragmatism stresses that the reality is changing; what exists is an open universe of constant flux. This position believes that we cannot say that there are metaphysical absolutes because this assertion is unverifiable by human experience. Instead of resting his ideas on an objective, unchanging reality, the Pragmatists prefer to give emphasis on being, work and action as opposed to ideas, spirit and thought, which are targeted to the betterment of the society; to solve its problems.

It thus follows that Pragmatism proposes an epistemology that is conditioned by societal institutions. By this, this view is in favor of experimental learning wherein theories which are derived from experience are tested and applied and that which contributes and affects the society in the best way is perpetuated.

By extension, truth and morality then are not things that are absolute but are, respectively a tentative assertion based on the application of hypotheses to solving problems and values that arose from outcomes of human responses to varying situations.

Pragmatism, in my opinion does not choose the society over the individual. I do not think that its intention is to diminish the value of the individual man in order to promote progress of the society. What I think it does rather is to try to bring together, as harmoniously as possible human beings in every community to work together for the good of the group not only for the group itself but also because the group inevitably affects the individual.

The point of the matter for Pragmatists, in my opinion is that every person is a member of a group and what happens in that group affects the individual.

What best be done is to act and react based on what can be verified by human experience and to do so as freely as possible, unlimited by absolutes that act as constraints to the inquiry of every man. Therefore, Pragmatism would disagree with Rand in saying that the child should not be left to a group of other children and not to let him pursue activities based on his interests.

This method is, on the contrary what best helps children in teaching them to be open to numerous possibilities that are discoverable by their minds through inquiry. Moreover, to let children mingle with other people especially those of their own age introduces them to the nature of a democratic society; one that fosters virtues of sharing, of waiting and of cooperating which I think would come in very useful in establishing healthy relationships in adult life.

Rather than what Rand says about this method as justifying the omnipotency of the pack, the Pragmatists would say that to be with other men is the natural state of every individual and to expose them to this nature would better prepare them for a productive and empathic existence with each other, mutually beneficial for each and every man.


Rather than the traditional way of teaching with the instructor merely imparting knowledge and skills, the Pragmatists are more inclined in an activity method which involves play, construction, nature-study and self-expression. These activities are I think formulated by the Pragmatists not for the reason of impeding the cognitive development of the child. Contradictory, the activity method enhances not only the thinking ability but the capacity of this ability to speculate critically by firsthand experience, by concept-building, by getting acquainted with the environment and by doing all these through expressing the self.

Finally, Rand says that the Pragmatists see the mere absorption of facts and values does not provide any social gain; in this I do not think that the latter would disagree. Conversely, the Pragmatists would not say that the activity method would make a child submit to the pack for what they promote is not submission but cooperation. Essentialism, from its name itself talks about basic education. It calls for a return to the essential subjects that have been proven to be useful in the past and are likely to be beneficial in the future.

Essentialism says that such a return is needed because the modernization of education, by the relaxation of academic standards for widespread social promotion and by the dominant educational theories that are enfeebling are causing academic standards to fall. Its orientation is thus very scholastic, holding that societal problems should not hinder academics. Essentialism deems it of high importance to transmit generative skills and intellectual disciplines that identify and perpetuate basic cultural elements.

Hence, the teacher should exhibit high competence of the subject and of the task fand bequeathing such knowledge to the students for the needed mastery in preparation for work and citizenship. All these, according to the Essentialists cannot be accomplished in a Progressivist classroom where the Whim rules, destabilizing the primary function of the school. Because of the stance that Rand takes with regards to man as being rational and in need of cognitive training, she proposes a classroom setup where a teacher handles the class in his full capacity to pass on knowledge that the children came to the school to learn about.

However, I find it very remarkable that the precise aspect of the system that Rand is blaming for the status quo is different from what the Essentialists are talking about. The cmoprachicos of the preservation that the Essentialists are vying for is that they believe that such basic education is what is needed for a person to grow a responsible adult who will gear his capacity towards economic productivity and growth. This is where I find a separation between Rand and the Essentialists.

Rand criticizes Progressivism because it hinders the child from developing his capability to become a fully-functioning rational being by making him conform to the pack. The Essentialists, I think would find the curriculum and the method of teaching of Rand as those that would best encourage their thesis of preserving basic knowledge but they do not share her sentiments with regards to the rationality of man.

The ideas of Rand and the Essentialist are indeed related but quite unlike each other. They do not oppose each other but they nevertheless do not meet at the same point of the arguments.

Perennialism, on the other hand promotes an education of man that upholds his potentialities; an education rad is based on the universal characteristics of human nature. It goes further than Essentialism in promoting basic education; it does so in the name of rationality, that which, as Rand says defines us as human. They both proclaim that when students are left to educational trends that lean towards mere whims and emotions of the students and mediocre educators, they are brought cmprachicos internalize false notions of success and progress i.

This is the inevitable result of the elimination of the proper cultivation of intellectual abilities by means of acquainting them to an objective and universal reality, one that is in line with their existence and human nature, also objective and universal. The Perennialists would thus correspond Rand in the idea that a proper study of metaphysics would restore rationality. It is I believe the key point of their positions: To say then that rationality, which defines human nature, is constant implies that education should be fixed as well.

Perennialism, like Rand also emphasizes that the students come to school because they wish to know that is why it is imperative for the teachers to be mature; competent and knowledgeable about the subject.

They both talk about a classroom setup which is open not to the mercy of the whims and emotions of the students but to the development of their cognitive abilities in a structured manner thus avoiding the tendency to be anarchic or despotic.

The curriculum and the subject matter that they speak of are those that are systematic and sequential, thus both want to foster the basic skills in the younger years of the child to help him prepare for the disciplines he would need to study later. Moreover, the consciousness of the child should begin with his immediate environment and the idea that it is universal and objective before immersing him into a group in order for him to identify himself first as belonging in the reality thus achieving self-identity.

By extension, Perennialism together with Rand would find that when the child is older, he will not be driven to the physical sciences to escape questions of morality and other issues in the humanities.