She immigrated to the U.S. in 1926 after graduating from the University of Petrograd and worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood. She won a cult following with two best-selling novels presenting her belief that all real achievement comes from individual ability and effort, that laissez-faire capitalism is most congenial to the exercise of talent, and that selfishness is a virtue, altruism a vice. In The Fountainhead (1943), a superior individual transcends traditionalism and conformism. The allegorical Atlas Shrugged (1957) combines science fiction with her political message. She expounded her philosophy, which she called objectivism, in nonfiction works and as editor of two journals and became an icon of radical libertarianism.
I never quite agreed with Rand, for reasons which I forget! :rolleyes: I gotta look them up again! :)
Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.
Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses) is man's only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.
Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself.
The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.
The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit.
It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others.
The government acts only as a policeman that protects man's rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders.
In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.
When she says that Man is an end to himself, and that
The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.
I still wonder then what Phat knows a priori about God versus what he derived from evidence. I don't think I know anything a priori about God at all.
My Christian philosophy was kindled, in large measure, by an impartation---at least how I perceived it happening. Our family grew up Methodist and my parents went to church as a social outlet and because, as my Dad once told me, "It makes you feel good!"
Jesus was never glorified or spoken of as openly as I speak of Him now. There were many years that I never considered going to church! Once, I was swept into a cult known as The Way International. This girl got me involved and I took the Power for abundant Living course...all the while stoked on cocaine, which I was addicted to in those days. Needless to say, I never really got into The Way and soon found drugs and old friends much more comforting.
Philosophically, I always considered the idea of God and of traditional Christian concepts as plausible but not necessary.
In late 1992, as I was in the best shape of my life riding my bicycle up and down mountain passes, another old girl whom I knew invited me to church. I agreed on principle because I trusted her and also because I was tired of getting high on pot every day of my life. I never expected the church would have any impact on my life, and I certainly was never planning on "being born again!"
The way I knew it, I had said the prayer enough that I was most certainly already saved. One memorable day, however, I literally experienced an impartation so convincing that I couldnt question it if I tried! I simply knew that God was real at that moment and have known this a-priori conclusion ever since then!
It can be argued that my indoctorination was a gradual lifestyle that had led up to an emotional catharsis. I won't deny empirical reasons for the epiphany that I had, yet in my own mind and soul I see it as a factual change and not an indoctorination.
I left that church after learning charismatic acceptable Protestant doctorines similar to the Assemblies of God denomination and doctorines, and I have developed a critical analysis of my faith and belief since that time.
One key example of my questioning about faith and belief centers around our own EvC discussions regarding creedal christianity which assert that all people are saved and simply need to come to an awareness of the fact---which contradicts what I was taught ---that many are called yet few are chosen.
I agree that behavior is important, yet I am unconvinced that there does not await an impartation of the reality of God for some of us that we have not yet experienced.
Since I say experienced, I suppose that my claim of a-priorian philosophy could be challenged! :)
So...Ifen...perhaps my impartation was an experience more than a knowing but it was instantaneous.
This message has been edited by Phat, 04-21-2006 11:44 PM
Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil.--Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
It's only been in the last few years that I've discovered Ayn Rand. having lost all faith the in the Catholic Church, not necessarily my spirituality (I've got lots of it from combined philosophies and religions), I also must say the only problem I have with Objectivism, and I've been working hard to find a solution, is that God has no place inside of it. Spirituality, however, in a form, is a great part of Objectivism. Spirituality can come from many alternate sources outside of religion. It is the presence of a higher power that cannot exist within the parametres of Objectivism
I must also add that Raynd's views are completely dependant upon each man in a given society be subject to reason. This, however, does not exist anywhere in our current world. Raynd's view of selfishness does not imply that one must 'stab someone in the back' to achieve this but that by personal achievement through our abilities we discover our values and happiness. Such happiness cannot exist so long as there is 1 person who believes that they entitled to something with working for; entitled to it by need.
Greed is not good or evil. It is the context of the word which gives it such qualities, like anything else. The problem lies in the fact that some men ARE more able than others. This should not be looked upon as a vice, but a virtue. The fact that one may be more able than an other should not be grounds for anger and jealousy; it is only factual.
In a society such as Raynd describes, yes, men work by their own means, for their own ends. But achievement of these things provides the opportunity for others to achieve as well. This, I guess, in my eyes provides happiness for others while we are striving to be our best. It isn't a matter of rich vs poor, in fact it ins't a matter of anything vs anything. Wealth, once again in Raynd's society, would simply respect outstanding ability which unfortunately is not celebrated, but condemned.
I guess people just aren't ready to accept such doctrines as one man being more able than another (not to say that means that they are better or superior). Also, please note, when i say man or men I refer to the Humankind and not the one sex in case anyone might be confused.
I must basically agree with Phat. To me the lack of a spiritual element renders it incomplete.
Spirituality , in my understanding of Objectivism, CAN be achieved through the success and achievement of our works. What is spirituality but the confirmation of life and discovering peace within? Discovery of God or a higher power is another story.
Interesting. Would you care to say more about your experience? Would you say that during this experience you were in a non ordinary state of consciousness or was your awareness typical?
IIRC, I was not in any different frame of mind than would befit a typical day. I DO recall that after the conversion experience, I was able to stop smoking pot on a daily basis for the first time in my life and, let me tell you, that was no easy task! :rolleyes: It was not something that the church even knew about, yet it was a decisive lifestyle change for me!
By my making some rather profound choices, one could assert that I was effecting the change---but from my perspective, the change had already happened!
I DO recall a few altered states of consciousness after the day, however! Whether or not these were due to my sudden withdrawl from marijuana or not, I cannot say. I was on a natural high which could have been due to my bodies normalization of serotonin levels, or some other such explanation. I have, of course, attributed the experience as an ongoing process that is God-ordained, but of course I would be biased! :)
I can say that this one experience allowed me to know that I know that God is real, but in truth it has been a combination of experiences added to that one which validated my belief. Interestingly, the opposite occurs for others involved in organized religion---they have an epiphany which shows them that the beliefs lack validity....go figure...
Ain't gonna stop me from spreading the good news that remains very real in my heart, however! :)
Spirituality , in my understanding of Objectivism, CAN be achieved through the success and achievement of our works. What is spirituality but the confirmation of life and discovering peace within?
In the context of objectivism, is spirituality a material thing? Is an individual concept of awareness or belief necessarily a spiritual reality?
John Galt writes:
Discovery of God or a higher power is another story.
Apparantly you see it that way. Perhaps you see self actualization as a form of confirmation and validation of your purpose in life. If so, God would be another story in relation to your awareness of Him. (or her...or another higher power)
First of all, so its easier on me in the future, could you explain how I quote what you have written so that my replies are easier to understand?
Second, is spirituality a material thing? Yes. Through electrical pulses in my brain I am able to think through logic and reason. These things are not concrete, but they are material. They cannot be seen, touched or smelled, but does that void their existence as 'material' things? I don't believe so. The concept of being aware of oneself is the first step any man must make before he can come to realize any of the things that surround him. "I think, therefore I am." is erroneous because it implies that we must think before we realize we exist. I see it as the opposite, "I am, therefore I think." Self actualization is the first thought process one must go through before understanding that what we are doing is thinking. How can thought exist if we don't exist before?
Finding peace within is material. Once again, like thought, it is not concretely material but I do not need to see my 'peace' visually to know that I have it.
Self actualization and validation are what we must discover before we can determine what purpose we wish our lives to follow. To me, the purpose of any life should be achievement. Achievement can come in any form: to invent, to travel, to find 'God' or whatever you may choose. But in the end, you must want to achieve something; without it, you have no purpose and a man without purpose it spiritually dead. I don't believe Raynd denies spirituality, just existence of God because his existence cannot be reached through reason. We set goals (or achievements) in our life so that we may strive to be better than we are. Sometimes it is not the actual attainement of said goal, but the journey to it by which we find what we wanted. But in the end, completing our goals gives us a sense of self-esteem unachievable anywhere's else. To be able to say, "I did this." about what we achieved gives us a feeling of self-worth. We then set new goals and the process continues. Everything you do in life is a means to an ends and it is at these ends that we find validaty, or if you may, spirituality.
Quick note, egoism and selfishness in Raynd's Objectivist theories do not follow the traditional sense of the definitions we know today. They are not evils. Simply put, they refer to the self.