Friends of Leonard Peikoff have been concerned about his health. Over the last few years, he has not been well, and recently he was hospitalized with COVID. Believing that he was still unwell, I was surprised when he asked to have dinner with me. We got together last night, and I was even more surprised. We had dinner at my home (filet mignon, black and blue—his favorite). He looked wonderful—the best I’ve seen him in many years. Physically, he looks fresh and healthy; he’s walking better, and he can get up from a low chair without using his hands, just using his thigh muscles. He demonstrated it for me. Try it. It’s not easy, particularly once you get older. Even younger people still mostly use their hands to help them get out of a chair. He is now working out 75 minutes a day, and he is on a healthy diet.
He is spiritually buoyant, sharp, energetic, and loving his life, particularly his passion and engagement with operetta, a love he shared with Ayn Rand—they listened to and watched operettas frequently, particularly Kalman and Lehar. His love of operetta has been revitalized. He went on at length and discussed the appeal, emotional range, stories, and the generally happy endings of this amazing art form.
He’s working on a full-length lecture about the value of operetta, supplemented with video and audio, which he expects to deliver in April with the assistance of Lisa VanDamme. Lisa has limited room for in-person attendance at her home, but will open it up through Zoom. Lisa and Leonard share a love of the arts and have enjoyed literature and poetry together for many years.
He explained his planned presentation vividly, and I thought: “Count me in. I want to attend.” I’ve not been a student or even a fan of operetta particularly, but I will attend Leonard’s presentation—in person, if possible. If you would like an invitation to the Zoom event, please send me your contact information and I’ll forward it to Lisa.
We talked about a range of things for over three hours, including his daughter, Kira, who has gone back to New Jersey with her family. I talked with him about the book I’m writing about prequests and the gratitude which prompted it. We discussed the ways in which the book will encourage readers to work with a coach to develop a “happiness plan.” Leonard gave me suggestions and advice on these topics and others. He suggested some titles for the book, such as: Prequests: Before the Will or Before the Will: Prequests. We’ll see.
He also surprised me by raising the Dennis Prager discussion with Craig Biddle, “A Dialogue About God and Ayn Rand,” and his desire to watch it. He said that he has listened to and likes some of Prager’s works and respects him as intelligent, thoughtful, and benevolent (notwithstanding Prager’s religiosity).
Leonard still receives loads of questions, suggestions, and proposals on Objectivism and general philosophy. He said that he spent a lifetime with Objectivism and answering questions. If he were to continue doing so now, he would have no time in his life for anything else. So, his firm policy is to not engage, answer questions, provide suggestions, or review proposals. He doesn’t want to discuss ARI or any other organization, and he absolutely does not want to hear about any conflicts or disputes. He wants to explore different values now. That is what he’s doing, and he’s loving it.
I know there are many people who are grateful and who admire and love Leonard, and I thought you would like to hear this good news about his good health.
28 thoughts on “Good News Regarding Leonard Peikoff”
I took a philosophy course with Peikoff at the Hotel McAlpin around 1971. The course was the beginning of Objectivist activity after the disastrous break-up with the Brandens. I attended other courses also but when I arrived for a history course with Robert Hessen, I learned the course was cancelled. Like other people, Hessen was ghosted and never heard from again.
Even then, I could see negative trends in the application of Objectivism to our culture. Peikoff knew philosophy but his knowledge of people and places was limited. Along with that, there was no method for helping people integrate Objectivism into their lives. The journey was a trail of loneliness that many people abandoned. Then, too, many Objectivists projected a cold, distant attitude of “I am better than you,” that was arrogant and unattractive. The classic example of this was the icy Binswanger, the intellectual Torquemada.
Like a gifted child who burns his bridges as he grows, Objectivism has always self-destructed and never achieved its potential.
That’s wonderful news about Leonard, Carl. Thank you for posting. What a wonderful thinker, writer and hero. I’d love to attend the video presentation of his lecture on operetta.
I WOULD LOVE TO ATTEND PEIKOFF’S LECTURE.
Thank you so much!
Great news about Dr. Peikoff. Thank you for the update.
I’m so glad Dr. Peikoff seems so well and happy. He DESERVES it.
We’re looking forward to ZOOMing in on his operetta lecture.
I am glad to hear that Dr Peikoff is doing well and his health is improving. I would be very interested to hear what he says about the Dennis Prager discussion with Craig Biddle. If you ever find out, please let us know.
Am so glad for Dr Peikoff with a healthy diet and workout. His love of operetta inspires me to re-check into that art form that I knew only casually as a teenager and as a college student.
One other thing I would also share with him or his friends — a health ‘miracle’ for me: the little book ‘Curing Cancer With Carrots’ by Ann Cameron. Her story is inspiring, and her reviews in Amazon tell how effective it’s been for others as well.
Thank you so much Carl for sharing this wonderful, upbeat news about Leonard — and also for sharing the photo. Both of you are an inspiration to millions of benevolent life lovers worldwide.
I am thrilled!
Perhaps you could ask him the quality of person best suited to advance Objectivism from this point.
great to hear the good news.
Thank you for this oh-so-encouraging update on Leonard’s restored health and vitality. I attended his NYC lectures on Objectivism and the History of Philosophy in the 1970s, but never took the opportunity to tell him how much his exposition of Objectivism contributed to my life and understanding. His two courses on “Objectvism: The State of the Art” and “Moral Virtue,” particularly his answer to the question “Why should One Act On Principle?” clarified so much for me (over and above Miss. Rand’s essay, “The Objectivist Ethics. Again, thanks.
I’m very happy to have this good news about Dr. Peikoff. Thanks, Carl.
Fantastic news about Leonard — thanks so much for sharing it! He does indeed look good, and it sounds like he has more energy than many men half his age. Here’s to many more years of happiness and intellectual sharpness (and, of course, operetta!) He’s earned it many times over.
So good to see you both smiling and enjoying life! Thanks for posting.
Attended his lecture at a metro Detroit VFW(?) hall circa late 60s or early 70s. Can’t quite remember its content it but I believe he may have shared his reasons why he was writing “The Ominous Parallels”. By your description he seems to be as lucid as he was then….. Bravo! Is he still pursuing jazz piano?
So I couldn’t find a definition for “prequests” online or in the dictionary. Maybe you could inform me before your book gets published.
I should have defined prequest. Particularly since it’s a new word. I’ll write a blog about prequests and explain what my book is about.
He is truly a “Lion of the West”
In the ’60s, Ayn Rand recommended – so, of course, following her, we were introduced to – Kalman, Lehar, Offenbach and generally, late 19th-early 20th century Austrian operetta. She once said her favorite was La Bayadere (by Minkus – or another version?).
They’re all interesting, but I find Romantic (Chopin, Rachmaninoff, et.al.), and especially Impressionist (Delius, Delibes, Debussy, et.al.), classics musically more interesting. Won’t go through a winter Holiday season without hearing Leroy Anderson’s version of “Sleigh Ride” several times!
Dr. Peikoff has well earned the right to relax now, leave the advancement of Objectivism to others (like Craig Biddle), and follow his greatest enjoyments in life!
Just realized – AR’s favorite was Emmerich Kálmán’s operetta version – “Die Bajadere”! Of course.
My apologies. Was long ago…
I would love to Zoom in (or attend in person!) Dr. Peikoff’s lecture on operetta!
I’m so happy to hear that Leonard has a new lease on life. His excitement (and yours for him) is delightful.
Great tohear that he is doing well. Thank you.
In a dark time becoming darker, this news of Leonard Peikoff is helpful “emotional ammunition.” Thank you so much for sharing it.
Dr. Peikoff earned the right to be honored for his great work and brilliant use of his mind. He deserves to enjoy and celebrate the world. What I am grateful for is that he has your friendship to enable him to live the life he has earned. No one of the 450 who were there at the Jefferson School when he and John Ridpath reported on their debate on socialism in Canada will forget the electricity of seeing two giants of Objectivism victorious. Honoring him honors you.
Bless you and my gratitude,
Glad LP loves operetta, I do too. Of course, being British born, I like Gilbert & Sullivan most of all, the sheer gaiety and pure, simple, ~fun~ of their work is hard to beat. In other moods, I’m a great fan of Italian and other classical operas. On still other days, I always loved stomping around to Meatloaf, Mungo Jerry or Creedence. The tune’s the thing, Beethoven or Beatles. Jus’ gimme a good toon!