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Egosum—

Ayn Rand's Individuality

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I assume the purpose of an Objectivist is to live on earth, not die and go to heaven or hell.

But, Ayn Rand's characters in her novels--Atlas shrugged, The Fountainhead, The Anthem; They all seem so lonely and static, and that makes me feel irrational. Nonfictionally, it is impossible to be like Howard Roark. I don't believe I can be so melancholy.

I also assume that Objectivists believe they do not in any way serve a purpose to others. Though, I somewhat believe we have to support each other emotionally and mentally, not in an altruistic concept.

(A) Are Objectivsts, strict Objectivists, lonely?

(B.) emotionally dysfunctional (on western society's standards).

Edited by Egosum—

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'Egosum—'

I assume the purpose of an Objectivist is to live on earth, not die and go to heaven or hell.

But, Ayn Rand's characters in her novels--Atlas shrugged, The Fountainhead, The Anthem; They all seem so lonely and static, and that makes me feel irrational. Nonfictionally, it is impossible to be like Howard Roark. I don't believe I can be so melancholy.

That must be your sense of life: I don't see her main characters as you describe. Maybe you are focusing on the wrong characters. I also wonder why you would let an interpretation of fictional characters make you feel irrational.

And why is it impossible to be like Howard Roark - holding his values et al?

I also assume that Objectivists believe they do not in any way serve a purpose to others. Though, I somewhat believe we have to support each other emotionally and mentally, not in an altruistic concept.

(A) Are Objectivsts, strict Objectivists, lonely?

(B.) emotionally dysfunctional (on western society's standards).

"Purpose" is a value, "productiveness" its corresponding virtue. One should not sacrifice for others, but that does not say one should not care for, support and love others.

Your A/B questions are not appropriate. Objectivism is a philosophy and does not change an individual's basic character traits. All you need to understand is that if you are attracted to Obj. prinicples, than you have a relatively rational mind and a positive sense of life. It did not make me or others I know lonely et al.

I assume that you are concerned that holding Obj. principles would make you more isolated from the world; but that does not have to be one's mindset.

Edited by TLD

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None of the main characters in her novels were that lonely. In a normal world they would have had many friends and even did in the novels. Roark had several friends he worked and spent time with. In AS there was a whole community of Randian heroes who were not lonely.

Objectivism doesn't cause you to be antisocial just not to feel the need for friends and social status. For example I can have few friends who I have much in common with instead of tons of friends who I am not close with. Additionally I do not feel the ened to spend time with family with whom I only share blood because it is of little value to me.

All Objectivism dictates is that you spend your time in the best way for you and not be compelled to spend your time with people you are indifferent to or dislike

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None of the main characters in her novels were that lonely. In a normal world they would have had many friends and even did in the novels. Roark had several friends he worked and spent time with. In AS there was a whole community of Randian heroes who were not lonely.

Objectivism doesn't cause you to be antisocial just not to feel the need for friends and social status. For example I can have few friends who I have much in common with instead of tons of friends who I am not close with. Additionally I do not feel the ened to spend time with family with whom I only share blood because it is of little value to me.

All Objectivism dictates is that you spend your time in the best way for you and not be compelled to spend your time with people you are indifferent to or dislike

Thank you both.

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I would say James at one of his stupid parties would be a lot more lonelier than Dagny, sitting in her apartment, listening to Richard Halley.

Isn't the isolation of Rand's characters supposed to be something tragic? As in, symptomatic of a tragic world, subject to a tragic philosophy.

Galt's Gulch seemed exhilarating and very social for the characters.

Maybe the response of the characters to their loneliness (ie productiveness, listening to Halley) represent good examples of survival methods. My personal conclusions about social interaction is that I often find that many people of questionable virtue do in fact have many virtues worth getting to know. When people become a burden, you shouldn't associate with them, but just because it seems like you can't relate to or even respect them at first, there are usually virtues that they have that are worth something. This might be a key to being a little less lonely.

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I think loneliness and "anti-social behavior" are states of mind that come about when one cannot find the right sort of friends-- those who share your values. But such values cannot be faked by going out to parties where no one there shares your most profound values. Learning Objectivism and participating in forums like this one lead me to feel not so isolated, even if many of my ideological friends do not live close by. Remember that your primary orientation ought to be towards reality first and other people second. It's not that Ayn Rand's heroes are tragic, because I don't think they are (aside from Kira in We the Living). I think it is more a personal attitude about being rational in an irrational society. Does that make me feel isolated? Sometimes, but mostly I don't feel that I am alone in an unfriendly world. Once you have Objectivism understood better and make more rational friends, you will realize that numbers is not the name of the game anyhow -- quality is, the quality of having close personal friends who share your ideology. Those kinds of friends may be rare, depending on where you live, but they are precious and worth keeping, even over long distances. I'm probably going to be moving to another large city from Dallas, where I have been for almost 25 years, and I will miss my local friends, but circumstances are leading me to have to move where I won't know that many people, though I can still keep in touch with my close friends via email and phone and social networking sites (such as FaceBook). Also, learn to assess people based upon their rationality. I do have friends who are not Objectivists, and I do like them (such as my former boss and his family). But overall, loneliness can only be cured by going out and making friends -- not by thinking that by being rationally idealist you will necessarily be lonely. In today's day and age, you are only as isolated as you want to be.

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I assume the purpose of an Objectivist is to live on earth, not die and go to heaven or hell.

But, Ayn Rand's characters in her novels--Atlas shrugged, The Fountainhead, The Anthem; They all seem so lonely and static, and that makes me feel irrational. Nonfictionally, it is impossible to be like Howard Roark. I don't believe I can be so melancholy.

I also assume that Objectivists believe they do not in any way serve a purpose to others. Though, I somewhat believe we have to support each other emotionally and mentally, not in an altruistic concept.

(A) Are Objectivsts, strict Objectivists, lonely?

(B.) emotionally dysfunctional (on western society's standards).

Without over-categorizing, it's safe to say that O'ists come in various types.

After all, the way I see it, individuality is a subset of Individualism.

One differentia is the introvert/extrovert. ( I apologize if this seems too stereotypical.)

That the one general 'type' has an easy affinity with people, however, and a more obvious enjoyment of them, is not a contradiction to them also being rational, thoughtful, and sometimes, solitary.

Similarly, an introvert, does not by any means, HAVE to be melancholy, detached, aloof, and alone. That many O'ists come from this group is not surprising, however, one can find that the philosophy - with its emphasis on consciousness and the individual - gradually moves one to a place of higher regard for quality in other people, motivating improved skills at engaging with them towards building a few close friendships, or some pleasurable acquaintanceships.

Because, more than anyone, Objectivists PAY ATTENTION : to themselves, to reality, and to other individuals.

With this sort of focused awareness, those solitary times that come to everybody, (even the 'party animal'), are seldom empty, I believe.

Hoard Roark is an illustration of a a proud and independent man; Rand used what I call Dramatic Extremism to convey her point.

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Isn't the isolation of Rand's characters supposed to be something tragic? As in, symptomatic of a tragic world, subject to a tragic philosophy.

Galt's Gulch seemed exhilarating and very social for the characters.

Maybe the response of the characters to their loneliness (ie productiveness, listening to Halley) represent good examples of survival methods. My personal conclusions about social interaction is that I often find that many people of questionable virtue do in fact have many virtues worth getting to know. When people become a burden, you shouldn't associate with them, but just because it seems like you can't relate to or even respect them at first, there are usually virtues that they have that are worth something. This might be a key to being a little less lonely.

That's certainly how I took it. Her heroes weren't antisocial by nature, they were simply surrounded by people with whom they had no interest in being friendly. That is to say, they valued their individualism such that they took it as a natural fact that they should not pursue empty friendships, friendships with people who do not share their values and so forth.

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(A) Are Objectivsts, strict Objectivists, lonely?

(B.) emotionally dysfunctional (on western society's standards).

First, loneliness and emotional dysfunction are matters of psychology, not philosophy. Philosophy can provide the intellectual tools to identify these conditions, but it cannot deal with them in particular.

Second, there are tremendous differences between the two conditions. Loneliness is an emotional reaction to a lack of identification with others in some important facet of one's life; emotional dysfunction is a broad term that encompasses trauma, underdevelopment, and other deeper conditions which are either experiential or the result of an individual's flawed neurology.

Being an Objectivist implies neither condition.

If a particular Objectivist is lonely because he has no friends who share his fundamental philosophy, he can still find solace in friends that are made through particular interests. I like science fiction and my friends like science fiction, and that gives us a connection; but that connection can only be so strong because there are fundamental differences in how we view the world and how we live.

On the other hand, there are many Objectivists who have Objectivist friends, and they probably share a greater friendship because of that more fundamental connection. I have never been to OCON, but I have read it described by first-timers as an event where they felt almost instantly comfortable and free to be themselves.

Only a philosophy that is vicious to the human mind can lead to emotional dysfunction -- the guilt-ridden Catholic, the angry existentialist, and so on -- but that philosophy certainly is not Objectivism. In my own life, I credit Objectivism with dispatching the religious ideas I was brought up with, and as a result my values changed, I was able to achieve self-esteem and confidence (because I discovered them to be virtues), and whatever emotional baggage I was carrying around I was able to leave behind.

Objectivism didn't do these things - I did. Objectivism simply gave me the tools to begin.

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On the other hand, there are many Objectivists who have Objectivist friends, and they probably share a greater friendship because of that more fundamental connection.

Yes and no. I know lots of both Objectivists and non-Objectivists, and I'm actually closer friends with most of my non-Objectivist friends because our shared interests bring us into more frequent contact. I talk to most of my Objectivist friends once a month, if that, mostly because they live far away so there's not a lot of daily life being shared. I talk to most of my non-Objectivist friends at least once a week, and I keep track of things like their family members, their jobs, etc.

But, yes, being an Objectivist doesn't mean being lonely at all. I was a lot lonelier and more isolated as a youth before I ever heard of Objectivism because I had higher than average intelligence and my family moved constantly so I had a hard time forming/keeping relationships with people. (That, and I've always been shy and/or anxious with social relationships.)

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The responses in this thread are a joy to read.

Experiencing one's own life as an end in itself to me means taking pleasure in using my mind and finding rational pursuits for both work and play. I enjoy debating with people in the Facebook polls which dovetails nicely with my current favorite hobby, virtual farming. I don't have any time to be lonely.

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