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David Blaine

How can an Objectivist survive?

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In a world

where world is concerned only with world,

where people are concerned only with people,

where party jokes carry more value than life long achievements,

where a person with a few wise cracks is admired more than a person who burns the midnight oil to become top scorer,

where quite people concentrated on living their life are being looked down lower than the street beggar,

where the girls go for "style jacket and pants" boys than achievers,

where the teachers look for the loudest boy than the smartest,

where all your arguments are countered by "but thats the way it is..." or "who cares what you're following as long as you're doing what the society is doing....",

where all your reasons are being heard by an empty bench,

where all your reasons are countered by dirty"emotional attacks",

where as much as you try to escape the 'formalities' of the society... you're not allowed to survive or exist unless you follow it,

where everyone knows the truth but the ones to voice them are shunt away as if the truth should only be seen as existing in the vacuum but not expressed or voiced,

where you are forced to feel guilty for actually living in the true sense,

where everywhere you look you see so much wrong that to actually ignore it feels pathetic to my soul,

How can I survive in this world. I am a total mess like Steve Mallory from Fountainhead. How can I escape that evil with no form? And if I cant live my life as it should be lived isn't death the better prospective?

"....and I love my life so much that I'm not willing to live it any other way......"John Galt

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I think it's very difficult not to be pessimistic with the current state of our country/world; however, I know there are a lot of good people left in this world and this country and that many of them are just misguided and uninformed. As the two articles recently published discuss (http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=10515&hl=) it seems like there may be some hope for the future. I suggest you read "What Can One Do?" from Philosophy Who Needs It. I just read it recently and Rand discusses how one person can help make a difference. I think making a difference in any way that you, personally, can, will make you feel better about the state of things.

I'm still learning about Objectivism myself, so I am sure someone with more experience will give you a better and/or different answer, so hang in there. Don't do anything drastic yet! :P

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Because, Blaine, that's all bullshit - that's the kind of stuff people want you to believe. Yes, those things you list there, they are true in some contexts, and some are true in more contexts than others. But, this world is a meritocracy, and apart from in the Dark Ages, one is judged, more or less, on one's ability.

Do you know why men similar to Roark manage to survive? It's because they know that all the evil in the world cannot penetrate their souls. No matter how much it accumulates, the 'formalities', the abuse, the guilt, the shame, the rebuttal of reason - it's all based on fear, irrationality and denial. One clean soul can cut through it all like butter, because really, it all doesn't matter, in the metaphysical sense. It's just evil, if you understand what I'm saying.

When you realise that evil isn't an active force, but a snarling void of good, you'll realise that this stuff can never hurt you; and until the US is embroiled in a Putsch, it won't be time to shrug. And as Kelly pointed out, things are actually starting to look very good for the future. Objectivism, as a movement and a philosophy in itself, isn't a floating abstraction, and it requires the active integration of reason, to exist; Objectivism isn't a collective, with a single mind, it is a group of individuals, recognising themselves as being humans, as being rational beings.

In short, unless they become the animals they yearn to be, the mob will never harm you, and the rational individual will always survive.

Edited by Tenure

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I ditto Tenure. Except I want to bring up another point.

where the girls go for "style jacket and pants" boys than achievers,

I usually call them "polo shirts and hats" guys. But, I think girls view them as achievers. I'm not quite for sure what they achieved, but whatever it is, it's valuable to them.

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I think you (David Blaine) are focusing far too much on what other people are thinking and doing rather than what you should be thinking and doing. You should not exist to save other people from their faults, you exist to improve yourself and your life. Yes, in doing so you may have to deal with many people who are as you describe, but that makes the rare diamond you find that much more valuable.

Your survival is not about them, it's about you.

Edited by RationalBiker

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Because, Blaine, that's all bullshit - that's the kind of stuff people want you to believe. Yes, those things you list there, they are true in some contexts, and some are true in more contexts than others. But, this world is a meritocracy, and apart from in the Dark Ages, one is judged, more or less, on one's ability.

Do you know why men similar to Roark manage to survive? It's because they know that all the evil in the world cannot penetrate their souls. No matter how much it accumulates, the 'formalities', the abuse, the guilt, the shame, the rebuttal of reason - it's all based on fear, irrationality and denial. One clean soul can cut through it all like butter, because really, it all doesn't matter, in the metaphysical sense. It's just evil, if you understand what I'm saying.

When you realise that evil isn't an active force, but a snarling void of good, you'll realise that this stuff can never hurt you; and until the US is embroiled in a Putsch, it won't be time to shrug. And as Kelly pointed out, things are actually starting to look very good for the future. Objectivism, as a movement and a philosophy in itself, isn't a floating abstraction, and it requires the active integration of reason, to exist; Objectivism isn't a collective, with a single mind, it is a group of individuals, recognising themselves as being humans, as being rational beings.

In short, unless they become the animals they yearn to be, the mob will never harm you, and the rational individual will always survive.

Yeap. As Ayn Rand demonstrated in her novels - and said in several essays - evil is weak, it is powerless. It can only win via the default of the good.

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where you are forced to feel guilty for actually living in the true sense

How can anyone force you to feel guilty about something?

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How can anyone force you to feel guilty about something?

Actually, good question. I wish it had of occured to me to ask that.

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Why are you so obsessed with everyone else? Okay, so they're there. They're irrational. Well, guess what, their irrationality is no reflection on you. You wouldn't let love of them become the motive power of your life, so why let *fear* of them become your motive power instead? Every single thing you said comes down to "I can't stand that other people aren't perfect". You're bemoaning the fact that they have volition. Well get this: volition is what makes achievement a value. The fact that many people choose badly should make the ones that choose well more precious to you, not make you give up on people in general. After all, you're people, and one exception is plenty.

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In a world

where world is concerned only with world,

where people are concerned only with people,

where party jokes carry more value than life long achievements,

where a person with a few wise cracks is admired more than a person who burns the midnight oil to become top scorer,

where quite people concentrated on living their life are being looked down lower than the street beggar,

where the girls go for "style jacket and pants" boys than achievers,

where the teachers look for the loudest boy than the smartest,

where all your arguments are countered by "but thats the way it is..." or "who cares what you're following as long as you're doing what the society is doing....",

where all your reasons are being heard by an empty bench,

where all your reasons are countered by dirty"emotional attacks",

where as much as you try to escape the 'formalities' of the society... you're not allowed to survive or exist unless you follow it,

where everyone knows the truth but the ones to voice them are shunt away as if the truth should only be seen as existing in the vacuum but not expressed or voiced,

where you are forced to feel guilty for actually living in the true sense,

where everywhere you look you see so much wrong that to actually ignore it feels pathetic to my soul,

How can I survive in this world. I am a total mess like Steve Mallory from Fountainhead. How can I escape that evil with no form? And if I cant live my life as it should be lived isn't death the better prospective?

"....and I love my life so much that I'm not willing to live it any other way......"John Galt

I think you're having a weak moment, David. I don't mean this negatively, but as a recognition of the frustration and occasional lonliness I think many of us feel as Obejctivists. I think Rand herself experienced these moments, as portrayed by Dagny in Atlas Shrugged. I can think of times of when I've longed to see someone else who thinks as I do.

All in all, those others don't matter. Sure, we have to deal with them on a daily basis as part of civilization, but you have to remind yourself you're not being forced to live in any certain way. There are those who try to force guilt upon us, but you don't have to accept it. If you've done something that you think voilates your principles, you will feel guilty. But then recognize it, resolve it, and move on.

Survival is possible because we are certain we are living in accordance with reality. We are not burdened by contradicting thoughts and emotions, and we refuse to be chained.

--Randy

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I myself once felt similar sentiments, David. I solved it by going back and reading more Rand.

I discovered her at a young age, reading Anthem at 12 years old under the tutelage of my long-time Objectivist father. It wasn't until high school and particularly college that I was fully capable of reading and internalizing her other works. I read The Fountainhead when I was 18 and Atlas shortly after ... For the next 3 or 4 years, I couldn't possibly see how I could be happy in a world filled with so much cowardice, bullshit, "Toohey's". I wanted desperately to know a Rearden, a Galt, a Roark, a Dagny (besides my father).

I'm now 22 and still occasionally get blue about the state of the world. However, I've figured out that while Rand's work, particularly her fiction, portray a world terribly worthy of longing for, it is a world which in reality does not exist (and IMHO, probably never will). Instead, it's up to those of us who subscribe to her philosophy to make that world for ourselves. That is, after all, the crowning achievement of her heroes and heroines. They stand tall in the face of everything that is contrary to their values. So, go back and read her, and find the Rearden in yourself.

One of my favorite quotes: "Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values" -AR

Edited by ReardenSteel

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Do you know why men similar to Roark manage to survive? It's because they know that all the evil in the world cannot penetrate their souls. No matter how much it accumulates, the 'formalities', the abuse, the guilt, the shame, the rebuttal of reason - it's all based on fear, irrationality and denial. One clean soul can cut through it all like butter, because really, it all doesn't matter, in the metaphysical sense.

so great, thanks for this! this forum is wonderful.

k

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Do you know why men similar to Roark manage to survive? It's because they know that all the evil in the world cannot penetrate their souls. No matter how much it accumulates, the 'formalities', the abuse, the guilt, the shame, the rebuttal of reason - it's all based on fear, irrationality and denial. One clean soul can cut through it all like butter, because really, it all doesn't matter, in the metaphysical sense. It's just evil, if you understand what I'm saying.

You know Rory, I didn't read this ithe first time you posted it, but these few sentences are really inspirational.

"One clean soul can cut through it all like butter..."

I love that.

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All in all, those others don't matter. Sure, we have to deal with them on a daily basis as part of civilization, but you have to remind yourself you're not being forced to live in any certain way. There are those who try to force guilt upon us, but you don't have to accept it. If you've done something that you think voilates your principles, you will feel guilty. But then recognize it, resolve it, and move on.

Survival is possible because we are certain we are living in accordance with reality. We are not burdened by contradicting thoughts and emotions, and we refuse to be chained.

--Randy

This is the sort of angle I see it as. It's not that thse type of people exist that bothers me, it only bothers me when I have to deal with them to get what I want. Or when they go out of their way to make things bad for me.

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I think we can all agree that we understand where he is coming from? We have all, I think, had these dark moments, when we are alone with our thoughts. I know I have. However, one can never let them consume you, because that is exactly what they will do. I think you all made some very good points about how when we know what we stand for is truly right, nothing can hurt us. My friend, when you learn to ignore what other people around you are doing, however horrible or even simply frustrating it is, you will be much more happy. Focus on yourself, your acheivements, and your goals, and know that there are other people out there like us.

Evil cannot prevail in the face of the rational.

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I think one can do various things about the irrational, and usually would do some of each of these, at different times (not an exhaustive list):

  • Understanding it
  • Ignoring it
  • Fighting it
  • Dealing with good that comes mixed with it

But, like many have said, the main remedy is the focus on one's positive values.

To most people, non-Objectivists too, what really matters is their day-to-day life: their work, their friends, and the other values that immediately surround them. It's more important -- to one's happiness -- to figure out how to build your own world of values, than it is to figure out how to deal with the world outside that sphere. But, the focus on positive values goes beyond that sphere. There is much of value in the world, in most fields of work, in terms of technology, and in terms of art and other values. So, look outside for values; the world has much to offer.

In summary: don't ignore evil... but, primarily, and actively, seek out the good.

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