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dream_weaver's introduction

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I came here to learn more about Objectivism. I first heard of it on a local radio station that hosted a daily three hour show. I was impressed with how the host could cut to the quick on so many issues.

Later, a landlord of mine handed me a copy of Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. I opened it up, read the first page, jumped somewhere toward the middle of the book, read a couple of paragraphs, then went to the last chapter and read a few paragraphs there. Needless to say, I wasn't inspired to read the book.

A few years later, a colleague of mine had a copy of Ayn Rand's Lexicon on his drafting board. We talked. I raised questions, he responded and soon I asked him something where his response was to bring in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. I took it home and read it cover to cover that night and returned it the next day. I was hungry for more.

I didn't understand the book then. I recognized the words that were on the pages. Reading was an activity that was encouraged in my home, so I read. I do recall coming away with the impression that it addressed a question I had that stemmed from the quotation "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Queuing some books up from a recommended reading list (I wish I still had) from Mark Scott's show, I began to read works by the founding fathers, A History of Western Philosophy by W.T. Jone, John Locke, and numerous others. While I familiarized myself with the works, it was done as I had done schoolwork all those years, to retain what was likely to be on the test.

I finally read Atlas Shrugged one weekend. I remember closing the book and sadly thinking "Why can't this world be like that one?" Life gets in the way sometimes.

I ended up with an Ayn Rand Lexicon on my desk. I found it useful to look things up when I would try to pinpoint something about an article I read, recall the words, and get back to the job at hand.

Then one day, I had someone ask some questions about Ayn Rand and Objectivism in general, who liked to also find issues in religion that he could use to try to point out contradictions in scripture to use in discussions with religious people. I went back to the books. I looked things up, reported what I had found, until he blurred the distinction between Objectivism and religion to me. Being a long time user of the internet, I decided to expand my search.

Welcome to Objectivism Online Forum.

I recall Peikoff admitting he was a rationalist for a long time. I realized at one point, that I was heavily steeped in rationalism. I turned to the epistemological area to see if I could go about understanding it from just immersing myself in it. Doesn't work. The rationalism still prevailed. I picked up the induction lectures, read Harriman's book when it came out. It seemed clearer, but still—I couldn't put my finger on it.

Looking over Attila and the Witch Doctor again today, I think I realized in a profound way:

Since no man can fully escape the conceptual level of consciousness, it is not the case that Attila and the Witch Doctor cannot or do not think; they can and do—but thinking, to them, is not a means of perceiving reality, it is a means of justifying their escape from the necessity of rational perception. Reason, to them, is a means of defeating their victims, a menial servant charged with the task of rationalizing the metaphysical validity and power of their whims.

I realized that is what I have been trying to do. Find the explanation that I think fits the situation to use to further my understanding, while missing that that method is not a means of perceiving reality.

Somehow, despite this rationalism, I now find myself as a moderator at this fine site, a patron, and know that while I must have been doing something right, it feels a bit fraudulent too. So as I take the time to finally do the long overlooked social grace of an official introduction, I would also like to invite comments on how my moderation is perceived by those who wish to do so.

Thank you for reading this.

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