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How Did You Discover Objectivism?

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I took a class where the professor was a Jungian psychoanalyst, and our semester project was to read 5 books and discover "our reason for being." I read Anthem, and the rest is history.

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I was first introduced to the ideas of Objectivism via the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. Being a writer and wanting a better understanding of writing I asked Terry Goodkind for advice in a letter. He pointed me in the direction of Art of Fiction and the Romantic Manifesto. The rest as they say is history.

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A coworker of mine was a wacky capitalist that I dispised. After months of debating, it became blatantly obvious that his views were sound and mine were not. Upon inquiring as to where he picked up these views, he told me to read "The Fountainhead."

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My 10th grade English teacher assigned Anthem. Then, after reading it himself, my father ordained "you aren't moving out of the house until you read Atlas Shrugged."

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An ex-girlfriend wanted me to read VOS so I would "understand her". I skimmed it half-heartedly to placate her, and with the intent of finding errors. Of course I didn't really find any (but I thought I had, and I don't even remember now what those were).

Two years later she left me and I read it again to figure out where I went wrong, and if there was anything in there that could help me not make the same mistakes again. I had to read it about 6 times but I finally figured out almost all of Objectivism just from Chapter 1 of VOS.

Ironically, after I put Objectivism together in my mind I came to realize that the ex-girlfriend was in fact a hedonist and anti-Objectivist. Oh well...

It made me nauseous to realize what was right and compare those principles to my past thoughts and actions. I am such a completely different person now, people that I knew from before who I didn't see until well after are amazed at how different I am. My identity shift has been enormous, which I realize is not the status quo for Objectivists -- but then most Objectivists come into it relatively young. I was 29 and already had a substantial adult life built on an implicit philosophy, which made it an extremely difficult transition -- and one that in some areas I continue to work on today 5 years later.

Edited by TomL

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My last year of highschool, my english teacher recommended that I read The Fountainhead for an independent project on Individualism. I was obsessed with Ayn Rand ever since. Then when I saw the professor for Business school economics class, I saw an aura that I never saw before in another human. I soon found out that he was an Objectivist whose main passion was intellectual history. The next year he was my tutorial leader for his course on understanding social change by understanding philosophic ideas. Then I discovered that I wanted to be a novelist. I found out that Ayn Rand gave a course on her craft in the 50's. I dropped out of school, got a full time job, bought the tapes ...and the rest is history ...and my future.

Americo.

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Last summer my mom told me to read Atlas Shrugged. It is her favorite book, though she is not an Objectivist. I had been dying to read it for like five years, since I found out it was her favorite book. I'm glad I waited. Any earlier and I probably wouldn't have been able to understand it or take my mom to bat on the existence of a god.

I haven't stopped reading Miss Rand since.

Zak

Edited by realitycheck44

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Last summer my mom told me to read Atlas Shrugged. It is her favorite book, though she is not an Objectivist. I had been dying to read it for like five years, since I found out it was her favorite book. I'm glad I waited. Any earlier and I probably wouldn't have been able to understand it or take my mom to bat on the existence of a god.

I haven't stopped reading Miss Rand since.

Zak

Haha, sorry guys. I meant to hit "edit and ended up quoting myself! :)

Edited by realitycheck44

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The album "2112" by Rush has a reference to Ayn Rand. I read Anthem in high school (early 80's) because of that. I picked up a copy of The Fountainhead in 1990, then read Atlas Shrugged, PWNI, the Voice of Reason, and everything else I could find by Ayn Rand.

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Up until a few years ago I didnt have strong political opinions, but I regularly read an internet forum which was inhabited by a few highly intelligent libertarians (and many more non-libertarians). I thought their views were borderline insane at first, but over time I gradually began to understand where they were coming from, and eventually became an advocate of capitalism. Around the same time, I heard Ayn Rand being discussed semi-reguarly and decided to check out the Fountainhead.

Edited by Hal

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Way back in high school I had been doing some thinking and decided that I was going to be SELFISH. Completely, unashamed and selfish. A friend said that his neighbors were these people who read "Ayn Rand" and that I sounded like them. So I went to the library and checked out The Virtue of Selfishness.

I read a bit of it, not understanding very much, but agreeing with what I understood. I returned the book without realizing its contents, but committed to being selfish. Years later, I stumbled on a humorous site (savethehumans.com) and they had web links to the ARI that actually concisely explained Objectivism (something that VOS did not). When I saw that I was like WHOA, HOLD THE PHONE!

From there I devoured every Ayn Rand book I could get my hands on. The rest is history! :lol:

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In my late teens, I developed a laissez-faire outlook pretty much on my own. My dad (a welfare statist, ironically), suggested I might enjoy reading Rand's books, that her views were in tune with mine. I picked up Atlas Shrugged once or twice, but got bogged down and never got beyond the first couple of chapters.

Then Richard Nixon imposed wage and price controls.

I was outraged. I would spout off to anyone and everyone about how terrible this was. I even called the local radio talk show when it had John Kenneth Galbraith as a guest defending controls. (This was way before Rush Limbaugh; the talk host where I lived was a flaming liberal.) I soon realized that my arguments were incoherent and I was getting shot down in flames.

In search of intellectual ammunition, I turned to Rand. I read Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal and For the New Intellectual before any of her fiction. Then I re-started Atlas, and this time I couldn't put it down. I was up until 4 AM three nights in a row finishing it. Needless to say, my political arguments got a lot sharper.

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Two years ago a friend who I had been chatting with over the internet for a few years told me she had just read, "The Fountainhead" she said it was one of the best books she had ever read and she thought I would like it. I picked up a copy at a Books-a-million and was hooked on Objectivism for life. I read Atlas Shrugged a few months later, and afterwards I read her nonfiction books. It was what I had been searching for and trying to formulate all my life, although I did not know it, an integrated view of existence without contradiction.

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This will be a long post, but I felt I should answer it, as I never discovered Objectivism. I have been told, more than a few times, that I am an Objectivist, not knowing, until recently, that it is a philosophy founded by Ayn Rand.

The first time I was told this was after giving a speech years back in an English class on a segment of Song of Myself by Walt Whitman.

And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God,

For I who am curious about each am not curious about God,

(No array of terms can say how much I am at peace about God and

about death.)

I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the

least,

Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself.

Text in quotes is from the above mentioned poem. After reading that for the class, I gave a speech about what I thought Walt Whitman was trying to convey. I quote myself: "Trying to understand god and his purpose is a futile endeavor, as the existence of god cannot be proven or disproven. Instead, find value and meaning in your own life. "

After giving this speech, I was asked if I was an Objectivist. I didn't know the answer to that question, and still don't know. I am reading and learning here about Objectivism, plan to read some of Ayn Rand's works, and decide from there.

In another class many years ago, I got into a heated debate with an instructor that was trying to convince the students that we cannot know that a chair is a chair. In other words, he was saying that we only know it is a chair because others have told us it is. He further claimed that we could change it's purpose and it's name, and make it into a table if we choose to. My argument was that no matter what we call something, whether it be a chair or anything else, and no matter what we use it for, it is still what it is. Even if we use a chair as a table, it is still a chair.

This instructor was a self-proclaimed socialist, and I knew where he was going with trying to prove that a chair is not a chair. So I said to him "Calling communism a teddy bear does not make it one." He called me an Objectivist. Again, I didn't know if I was or not, so I shrugged.

These two incidents and a few others where I have been told that I have Objectivist view points made me curious, and that is why I have sought out this site and have just started reading my first Ayn Rand book, The Fountainhead.

Edited by ann r kay

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My father's interest in gold...including gold bullions and making an event around watching Greenspan's appearances started my interest. Soon after I picked up an old copy of the Anthem, which I remember as "The Hymn" for some reason.

Edited by Hugh Akston

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I went from Marxist to Social Darwinist, then to Socialist and then finally to a confused and bitter cynic. I read Atlas Shrugged about a year ago, but hated myself too much to accept it. If you despise yourself, it is nearly impossible to see any virtue in selfishness.

Then something funny happened about five or six months ago. I was watching the movie Misery (the one based on the Stephen King book) and, oddly enough, that was what got me thinking about Ayn Rand again. It was the scene in which the author burned his own book, the one that was forced out of him by the crazy woman that brought Objectivism back into my mind. I thought "how can anyone think they have a right to someone else's work, and have the effrontery to force it out of them?" I guess I should be embarrassed that I didn't immediately see the good in what I had read earlier, that some corny horror movie should bring the issue up, but in a mind as full of malformed ideas and confused rationalizations as mine was, things don't work out the way they should.

Since I've begun studying Objectivism in earnest

1. I've gotten a job that I've stuck with, and actually feel better about myself for it

2. Made plans to move out of my parents' house, and pay for my own education and necessities, rather than wasting their money and their time (I felt parasitic before; I knew they were supporting me but I was too ashamed/afraid to ask why)

3. No longer resent the people who supported me (biting the hand that feeds you is--I think--a symptom of being chronically dependent). I had the courage to finally ask them what I was worth to them, and my relationship with my parents and family is no longer in jeopardy. I am now safer because I questioned altruism, and I work harder to give back to those who give to me.

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I was a hardcore Communist, and in my process of debating with various libertarians and right-wingers, a poster named TheAbleFew (one of the three I immensely respect for opening my eyes to the failings of my views) said "Honestly - go pick up "Atlas Shrugged" - it WILL change your life."

It did.

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Then something funny happened about five or six months ago.  I was watching the movie Misery (the one based on the Stephen King book) and, oddly enough, that was what got me thinking about Ayn Rand again.  It was the scene in which the author burned his own book, the one that was forced out of him by the crazy woman that brought Objectivism back into my mind.  I thought "how can anyone think they have a right to someone else's work, and have the effrontery to force it out of them?"  I guess I should be embarrassed that I didn't immediately see the good in what I had read earlier, that some corny horror movie should bring the issue up, but in a mind as full of malformed ideas and confused rationalizations as mine was, things don't work out the way they should.

Mysery is my favorite movie of all time :D

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Mysery is my favorite movie of all time  :D

I didn't really like the movie, but the book was one of my favorites when I was a kid.

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I didn't really like the movie, but the book was one of my favorites when I was a kid.

I actually like to watch it because of the beginning. Watching a writer complete a book is something that I want to do someday. Then comes the rest of the story which is also very compelling.

Edited by Hugh Akston

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