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Does Objectivism Make You Happy?

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Does Objectivism make you happy? Does converting to the philosophy of Objectivism make a person happier, either immediately or down the road? :lol:

And if not, why not? So what's the point of converting? What good is Objectivism? Abstract knowledge without use or practical value seems absurd to me.

I'll take a chance and let everyone in on a little secret: As far as I can tell, and maybe I'm wrong, Objectivism hasn't raised my level of happiness. It hasn't knocked it down any, as far as I can tell, but it hasn't raised it. This seems to be the experience of others too.

A few years ago I asked Nathaniel Branden if he thought people were happier after conversion. I asked after establishing a decent rapport with him and very casually. Then I watched very closely when he replied. He seemed astonished at the question, hesitated a small moment, but then answered right away in an evidently candid and forthright manner: NO. (We talked a bit more, but that was the gist.)

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It has made me immeasureably happier. Before I discovered Ayn Rand, I lived by many of the principles of Objectivism, but held many contradictory premises as well. The result was a person who was suffering from a lot of internal confusion. Objectivism gave me the tools to understand what was happening inside of me, and therefore start on a path to a much more rational and yes, happier life.

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Does Objectivism make you happy?

Measurably so :lol:

What good is Objectivism? Abstract knowledge without use or practical value seems absurd to me.

But so much of our knowledge is abstract. The fact that you can even posit a question such as so, is purely from abstract knowledge. I challenge you to find me abstract knowledge that has no purpose.

As far as I can tell, and maybe I'm wrong, Objectivism hasn't raised my level of happiness.

And it didn't raise mine either, but that was when I had a superficial understanding of it. After rereading VOS in conjuction with OPAR, my level of happiness has sky-rocketed. Personally, I was always mired in some form of skepticism or determinism, and when you're not able to sort these things out, life necessarily becomes morbid and unfulfilling.

May I ask as to why Oism hasn't made you happy? Aren't there parts in your life that have confused you but then after studying Oism you thought, "Ahh yes, it makes sense; NOW I see the course of action I should take and how it relates to underlying principles."? Doesn't Oism help you settle internal as well as external disputes?

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I think one basic tenent of happiness, according its nature is that a person must make themselves happy. Objectivism itself cannot make anyone happy, its whole purpose is to provide one with a correct system of integrating life and thus living it so that he may make himself happy. You can't expect to "convert" (what a word) and then see the light and live thus forward in eternal joy. You must use the knowledge you've gained to do those things that will provide for your happiness. If you're not happy, its your fault, not Objectivism's.

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I think one basic tenent of happiness, according its nature is that a person must make themselves happy. Objectivism itself cannot make anyone happy

That's just what I was going to post. Objectivism doesn't make me happy, but it helps me make myself happy.

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In the spirit of honesty here, Objectivism qua Objectivism hasn't raised my happiness level either. I think that at times, when I accomplish something worth wihle I feel a bit of contentment, but no where near how AR describes it in her novels. Whenever I am at school, and I see others submitting to instant gratification, a twinge of jealosy appears. I know that that lifestyle doesn't last (I've tried), but the idea of the "noble savage" always has been in the back of my mind. My hopes are that in the future, when I have accomplished what I've set out to do, I will feel that level of happiness. But for now, all I can do is think and create.

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AB wrote: "Does Objectivism make you happy? Does converting to the philosophy of Objectivism make a person happier, either immediately or down the road?"

To expand on what has already been said here, Objectivism gives one the tools to achieve happiness. All of these tools are not held exclusively by Objectivism, and so it is possible for one to be happy without knowing about Objectivism (I was, e.g.), but Objectivsm offers the most comprehensive, integrated philosophy for achieving happiness.

The psychological responsibility for achieving one's own happiness -- for employing the technology to achieve happiness -- lies with the individual, though.

AB continues: "And if not, why not? So what's the point of converting? What good is Objectivism? Abstract knowledge without use or practical value seems absurd to me."

The phrase "converting" makes me suspicious. One integrates knowledge, one doesn't "convert" to it. "Converting" to a philosophy and expecting happiness to automatically follow implies a type of intrinsicism, which I can not expand upon here without psychologizing, so I won't.

AB: "I'll take a chance and let everyone in on a little secret: As far as I can tell, and maybe I'm wrong, Objectivism hasn't raised my level of happiness. It hasn't knocked it down any, as far as I can tell, but it hasn't raised it. This seems to be the experience of others too."

This doesn't tell us much. Are you basically happy or unhappy? Are you basically reality-oriented or primacy-of-consciousness-oriented? By what method do you conclude "this seems to be the experience of others, too"? Just the results on this thread alone seem to belie that conclusion.

AB: "A few years ago I asked Nathaniel Branden..."

If you're unahppy, a good starting point might be to stop hanging out with Nathaniel Branden.

"...if he thought people were happier after conversion. I asked after establishing a decent rapport with him and very casually. Then I watched very closely when he replied. He seemed astonished at the question, hesitated a small moment, but then answered right away in an evidently candid and forthright manner: NO. (We talked a bit more, but that was the gist.)"

This says nothing much about Objectivism, but speaks volumes about Nathaniel Branden. Perhaps Objectivism would make even him happy, if he were ever to try integrating it into his life.

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Does Objectivism make you happy? Does converting to the philosophy of Objectivism make a person happier, either immediately or down the road?  :P

Yes, but I'll add: it took me over a year before I reached a non-contradictory state of happiness. I had to embark on a quest of identifying and replacing my false ideas.

When I first discovered Ayn Rand, I agreed with most of her ideas, but at the same time they did not fit well with my personality. I could not let this rest: I had to discover whether it was my personality or Objectivism that was false. That alone took me many months, and I learned a lot in that process. After deciding that it was my personality that was wrong and that Objectivism was right, I had to learn by what method I was to change my personality to match my philosophy. That took longer still. Finally having done that, I went to the task of reinventing myself as I wanted myself to be. I am still doing that now, and draw closer to my ideal with every day that passes.

People have two approaches to dealing with the unknown: knowing it, or fearing it. Discovering your own thought processes is something anyone can start doing at any moment, but most people fear the attempt. The more I've learned of my inner state, the less I have had to fear, and the more sure I am of myself; in the inside, and thus on the outside too. This is a great source of happiness.

I'll take a chance and let everyone in on a little secret: As far as I can tell, and maybe I'm wrong, Objectivism hasn't raised my level of happiness. It hasn't knocked it down any, as far as I can tell, but it hasn't raised it. This seems to be the experience of others too.
The fact that you don't know whether Objectivism has raised your happiness or not suggest that you are evading the truth of the matter. How can you not know such a thing? You needn't answer me that question, but I strongly recommend that you try to answer it for yourself.

Objectivism requires induction. Unless and until you arrive at all the same conclusions that Objectivism upholds - solely of your own independant judgement and private observation - accepting Objectivism would mean taking it on faith.

In order to have consistency in your mind, you need to know on which ideas you are operating. You also need to acknowledge that there is an idea at the root of every emotion (a fact that you also must induce), and then act accordingly. That means: know exactly what idea is behind ALL of your emotions. You cannot read this knowledge from a book; you must learn it all by yourself by the unrelenting use of your mind. Discovering the root of an emotion means being able to unquestioningly spell out: "THIS IS the idea that that emotion comes from." This is the method by which you reject false ideas and embrace new ones. It is also great fun, once you notice the positive effects that it has.

I had no idea just how little thinking I had been doing in the past until I got into the habit of really doing it. Quite often I confused thinking with simply staring inward and flatly analysing my emotional state without identifying the root causes of that state. Again, this was caused by the acceptance of an idea: in this case, that the cause of an emotion can only be guessed at, and not objectively or certainly known. Ideas are the most fundamental part of your identity, and every single one of them is chosen. The idea that you can choose your ideas is the most powerful idea you can have. It is the idea by which you create your own destiny.

You might do well to read Atlas Shrugged again. If you keep an active mind, you will grasp something new each time you read it. You don't even have to re-read it from the beginning; just dive in at any chapter and you will likely grasp things that you overlooked the first time.

A few years ago I asked Nathaniel Branden if he thought people were happier after conversion. I asked after establishing a decent rapport with him and very casually. Then I watched very closely when he replied. He seemed astonished at the question, hesitated a small moment, but then answered right away in an evidently candid and forthright manner: NO. (We talked a bit more, but that was the gist.)

He obviously wasn't thinking of people like me when he said "NO". I wouldn't be half the man I was, if not for Objectivism. Before discovering it, I was an appeaser of anyone who didn't like me, which was almost everyone. They didn't like me because I was different. I didn't like myself because I accepted their standards over my own. I was both too honest and intelligent to drop my convictions and start being a conformist, yet too second-handed to accept the idea that I should accept my judgement over everyone elses. So I (unconsciously) took a middling stance. I hid my ideas and my hobbies from people as if it were a dirty vice, and engaged in them with the enthusiasm of a man acting on contradictory premises; never surrending who I was, yet never living up to who I could be.

I had no idea what individualism was, and had no grasp of the concept, yet I hated the mindless and irrational, and held my mind as being the most precious thing I had. Unfortunately, my beliefs prevented me from using it. I was paralyzed. Without Objectivism, I very likely still would be.

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... Objectivism hasn't raised my level of happiness. It hasn't knocked it down any, as far as I can tell, but it hasn't raised it.
Ariana, That was a very candid statement.

You have not said whether you were happy anyway, before you discovered Objectivism; or if you were looking for happiness and did not find it in Objectivism.

Take an example of a happy person who lives his life pretty much in accordance with an Objectivist ethics. What could Objectivism give him? I think that by making the implicit more explicit, it would give him a certainity and understanding that he previously lacked. I think such a person would be bound to encounter situations in life where his implicit philosophy would be insufficient. Having an explicit philosophy gives him immense confidence.

On the other hand, there could be an example of a person who has a more mixed reaction to Objectivism. He agrees with the philosophy. However, he discovers what he thinks (rightly or wrongly) are conflicts between the philosophy and himself. Previously, "ignorance was bliss", now that he is "wise", he is obliged to change. Perhaps he liked some movie; now, he realizes that it espoused many evil ideas. Suddenly Objectivism acts as a killjoy.

The perceived conflicts may be real: maybe the person needs to stop stealing music, stop using LSD, or whatever. Sometimes, however, people mistake the line where the philosophy stops and optional values begin. It would be odd not to encounter such perceived conflicts. The only question is how one deals with them. Ideally, one resolves them. On the other hand, one might repress the "real you". Alternatively, one might guiltily continue doing something that one thinks is wrong. If the conflict is not real, the repression or guilt will necessarily decrease one's overall happiness.

The other type of "conflict" or "alienation" that one might experience is with other people. One now has a newly acquired sense of right and wrong, coupled with a validation of the idea that one should judge people. This can impact relationships with previous friends. Again, the perceived conflicts may be real or not, and it can take time to resolve them.

Resolving these issues can take time: a year, more than a year, less... I do think, however, that as one starts to resolve a few such issues, it becomes progressively easier to resolve others. In that way, one moves from ignorance, through conflict, to understanding: toward the pursuit of happiness.

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At the various levels of advancement in learning Objectivism, I found it easy, and so obviously true. I understood early that I shouldn't take ideas on faith. But how not was hard to grasp exactly. It was always great fun to delve into all the paths that the literature plunged me into. One problem was that countless projects kept popping into my head and I soon grew impatient, with an implicit idea of it is really all hopeless.

One othe problem was that I was always a rebel at heart. And so very often I rebelled, privately, against the ideas of Objectivism. I called them experiments. I often treid Hedonism. But Objectivism is the practical way ... because it is true. I always went back to it, the solution was always by it.

At this stage of my life the greatest benefit that I achieved via Objectivism is learning how to write fiction, and to engage in independent fulfilling philosphical projects. For example, on in the future, is to compare and contrast the books, The Anti-Christ and The Age of Reason. And there are so many of these kinds of projects.

It took me a few years to genuinely enjoy, in a consitent manner, such activities.

But there is so much room for so much more joy. One of the biggest intellectual challenges that I will face in the next years is to actually learn logic via Aristotle and Ayn Rand. There is so much beyond my reach without this one crucial achievment.

I can't say I'm happy happy. But I am serene, a level of serenity that I thought I began to fear I would never reach.

Yes, Objectivism, when you own it, and you have integrated it into your psychology, will necessarily make you happy.

This was the promise at the beginning. I know now it is possible. It's all up to me. If I fail to reach it, I know that it is not human nature that is damned, it is me.

Americo Norman.

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Ariana, That was a very candid statement.

You have not said whether you were happy anyway, before you discovered Objectivism; or if you were looking for happiness and did not find it in Objectivism.

Take an example of a happy person who lives his life pretty much in accordance with an Objectivist ethics. What could Objectivism give him? I think that by making the implicit more explicit, it would give him a certainity and understanding that he previously lacked. I think such a person would be bound to encounter situations in life where his implicit philosophy would be insufficient. Having an explicit philosophy gives him immense confidence.

On the other hand, there could be an example of a person who has a more mixed reaction to Objectivism. He agrees with the philosophy. However, he discovers what he thinks (rightly or wrongly) are conflicts between the philosophy and himself. Previously, "ignorance was bliss", now that he is "wise", he is obliged to change. Perhaps he liked some movie; now, he realizes that it espoused many evil ideas. Suddenly Objectivism acts as a killjoy.

The perceived conflicts may be real: maybe the person needs to stop stealing music, stop using LSD, or whatever. Sometimes, however, people mistake the line where the philosophy stops and optional values begin. It would be odd not to encounter such perceived conflicts. The only question is how one deals with them. Ideally, one resolves them. On the other hand, one might repress the "real you". Alternatively, one might guiltily continue doing something that one thinks is wrong. If the conflict is not real, the repression or guilt will necessarily decrease one's overall happiness.

The other type of "conflict" or "alienation" that one might experience is with other people. One now has a newly acquired sense of right and wrong, coupled with a validation of the idea that one should judge people. This can impact relationships with previous friends. Again, the perceived conflicts may be real or not, and it can take time to resolve them.

Resolving these issues can take time: a year, more than a year, less... I do think, however, that as one starts to resolve a few such issues, it becomes progressively easier to resolve others. In that way, one moves from ignorance, through conflict, to understanding: toward the pursuit of happiness.

This is the start of the response that I don't have the time to write, so thank you for that!

To answer the question: YES! Objectivism has made me IMMENSELY happy! I had been searching for most of my life, and now I have found it!

Now, to add: if Objectivism has made you no happier or less happy, then it is NECESSARILY because you are mis-learning it, or because you aren't letting go of negative, self-destructive values that you had previously held, or you haven't integrated how you are truly better off without them.

In any case, the failure is yours, so check your premises and hit those books.

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Does Objectivism make you happy? Does converting to the philosophy of Objectivism make a person happier, either immediately or down the road?  :lol:

And if not, why not? So what's the point of converting? What good is Objectivism? Abstract knowledge without use or practical value seems absurd to me.

I'll take a chance and let everyone in on a little secret: As far as I can tell, and maybe I'm wrong, Objectivism hasn't raised my level of happiness. It hasn't knocked it down any, as far as I can tell, but it hasn't raised it. This seems to be the experience of others too.

A few years ago I asked Nathaniel Branden if he thought people were happier after conversion. I asked after establishing a decent rapport with him and very casually. Then I watched very closely when he replied. He seemed astonished at the question, hesitated a small moment, but then answered right away in an evidently candid and forthright manner: NO. (We talked a bit more, but that was the gist.)

I have known about the philosophy of Objectivism since I was 16 years old, but I never actually practiced it until I was 23 (I’m 27 now).

On some implicit level I must have accepted the theory/practice dichotomy. For most of my youth I lived without principles or direction. I thought I was an Objectivist, but in practice I was a just a hedonistic pragmatist. I was unhappy, my life was going nowhere, and I didn’t have a clue.

Then I "woke up." I realized that this is it—this is the only life I’m going to get and I had better make the most of it. It realized the virtues of Objectivism are not an intellectual game, but practical principles meant to be used. I started taking a long-term, principled approach to my life. I began practicing Objectivism—not just thinking about it—but acting on it.

The results have been incredible and I am very, very happy now.

The moral of the (true) story is that theory minus practice equals zero.

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Upon my (fairly recent) discovery of Objectivism, I began reading voraciously all the books I could. Since then, and prior to discovering Objectivism for myself, I have never found a system of thought that made so much sense. On an emotional level, as a consequence of understanding the principles and applying them to my life, I would say that I do feel happier. However, I think that I have a long way to go towards full integration of Objectivism and setting myself on the pathway of being the fully integrated man that is my goal.

As an aside, I think that discovering this philosophy younger in life would make it easier since you have less to "undo" - meaning less bad ideas that you hold subconsciously that need to be "weeded out" of your mind. By practicing introspection, I'm certainly on the right path. Setting goals is important as is continuing to read as a way of providing emotional and intellectual fuel.

I just want to add that reading Objectivist based psychology ie. Dr. Hurd or Dr. Kenner is very helpful. Sometimes just the Philosophy on its own is hard to use for the transition and integration of the ideas into your life.

As others have stated: Objectivism doesn't make you happy, using Objectivism to guide your life gives you the tools to make yourself happy.

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Here's what I've come up with on this issue.

People new to Objectivism are prone to overlooking the branch of epistemology. Many people are interested primarily in metaphysics, or ethics, or politics -- but few are initially introduced by way of epistemology and thus the means by which they can USE the philosophy eludes them.

The key to USING Objectivism, and thus increasing one's happiness, lies in grasping Objectivist epistemology in the widest sense possible.

As my wife pointed out, this is probably why Ayn Rand herself wrote ITOE and left OPAR for someone else.

The reason I say "the widest sense possible" is that many studying epistemology fall into the trap of focusing in too narrowly on specific points, and never stepping back and reintegrating all those small points into one, cohesive picture of epistemology. This is absolutely necessary if one is to learn not only what the best tools are for increasing happiness (introspection!) but how to do it (observing oneself as a 3rd party) and when to do it (everytime an emotion is felt).

The rest of Objectivism gives one the premises to use in rebuilding, refining, or reinforcing one's emotional mechanism. Only epistemology can drive the process and MAKE it happen.

Edited by TomL

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Whenever I am at school, and I see others submitting to instant gratification, a twinge of jealosy appears.

Case in point: you should be introspecting as to the cause of that jealousy (an ugly little emotion if I might say). What implicit premises are you carrying around that cause you to feel this way?

Once you discover them, you must (dare I say religiously?) eradicate this part of your subconscious. Simply knowing it is wrong does not make you stop feeling it -- you must reprogram your subconscious. Mull over the reasons, repeat to yourself why your implicit premises are wrong until you feel better. Do this each and every time you feel jealousy for the same thing, and eventually it will go away.

Edited by Free Thinker

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Case in point: you should be introspecting as to the cause of that jealousy (an ugly little emotion if I might say).  What implicit premises are you carrying around that cause you to feel this way?

Once you discover them, you must (dare I say religiously?) eradicate this part of your subconscious.  Simply knowing it is wrong does not make you stop feeling it -- you must reprogram your subconscious.  Mull over the reasons, repeat to yourself why your implicit premises are wrong until you feel better.  Do this each and every time you feel jealousy for the same thing, and eventually it will go away.

I agree with you. I actually write in a journal (I find simply thinking about my emotions gets distracting during the day). It just is hard to find the exact source of an emotion at times. Its like trying to describe a color. I find that repeating certain maxims to myself helps (ie A is A self, don't forget it! or I am captain of my own destiny!)

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I agree that Objectivists sometimes have to "work off" their old habits and automatized feelings.

At the same time, it is important to question every perceived "life vs. philosophy" conflict to ensure that the issue is really a question of philosophy. My previous post in the thread might have been slightly abstract. So, I thought it would be useful to compile a short list of some examples.

Discussing the specifics of any particular example would deserve a separate thread. Indeed, some of them have already threads of their own. So, these examples are meant to highlight the types of issues, not to discuss any particular one. Here they are (written in the first person to add a tone of introspection):

[ begin conflicts ]

"I've always hated big cities. I really don't want to live in a skyscrapers. I appreciate what went into making this city; but I really don't like the city-experience. Does that make me anti-achievement? anti-man?"

"I like Beethoven or Zappa or Heavy Metal. Is that wrong? I like some Rachmaninoff; but much of his music leaves me cold. Does that mean I have not integrated a proper aesthetics?"

"I've always admired adventurers. It has long been my ambition to climb K2. But, it's risky and it really isn't productive. I could even die; does that make it anti-life?"

"I've always been quite happy with my minivan, but an Objectivist I respect says that the only men who drive them are hen-pecked husbands who have subjugated themselves to the needs of others. Is this true? Am I being selfless?"

"Am I dishonest if I accept a government scholarship? What about the public library? Am I a hypocrite?"

"I don't exercise much. I never go to the gym. I even have the beginnings of a belly. My parents and grandparents were all overweight; compared to them, I'm doing well. But, there is no reason why anyone must remain overweight. Am I evading?"

"I really want to be an inventor, but if I follow my dream who will profit? Won't I be helping the moochers? Should I give up and shrug?"

"I like certain porn, but what rational reason do I have to do so? I can stop looking at it, but that still does not stop me wanting to. Is it okay to view it until I find a real woman? Am I rationalizing? Evading reality? Being irrational?"

"I'm homosexual. I don't know if I can change. I agree with everything else about Objectivism. If man is born tabula rasa, surely my lifestyle is a choice I make. Then, how do I justify it?"

"I've always wanted to be a prosecutor and help bring criminals to justice. Now that I've read Ayn Rand, I wonder if I have to change the central purpose of my life so as not to enforce immoral laws."

"I just read a list of 'top 10 things Objectivists say...', and thought it was funny. But, humour is a way of mocking something, so I probably should not have found it funny if I really respected Objectivism. Is my laughter destructive? Do I harbor an unacknowledged contempt for my philosophy? For myself?"

"I wish there were more Objectivists I could talk to. Sometimes, it feels I'm all alone. I wonder if I am the problem. Isn't loneliness a sign that I need others? Am I being second-handed?"

"I've been depressed lately. Does that reflect on my character? I finally saw a doctor about it and he prescribed some pills. Should I take them? If I'm rational, wouldn't I be able to resolve this myself?"

"Objectivism has some wonderful premises and very logical and rational principles that one ought to follow. But sometimes I wonder, just how realistic is it?"

"When I go out with my friends, they never want to talk about anything serious. It's all small talk or worse. I'm always arguing with them. They want me to 'chill out sometimes'. Are they evil? Am I being needy in associating with such people? Is it practical to expect I can deal with such a non-Objectivist environment? "

"My teacher is always saying something stupid, and I'm always arguing. I tell myself it will hurt my grades and that I should back off. Isn't it wrong to back off? Don't I need to stand up for what I believe in. Isn't silence a sanction? Even if I decide to keep shut, I end up seething with anger. Surely, Objectivism is not practical for getting an A on an English paper."

"Ever since I understood Objectivism, I no longer enjoy novels and movies the way I used to. Previously, I could enjoy a well-made movie and not notice its minor flaws. Now, so many movies have little things that rankle. Even if I know, intellectually, that the movie is pretty good, it usually contains something that spoils it for me."

"I thought it would be great fun when I heard there was a group of Objectivists in my city. Yet, it felt a bit empty. The discussions were useful, but I often felt I could not be frank about my questions. And the party our club organized was a let down. Instead of simply having fun, it was one long rant about the evil state of the world."

"I really don't know what I should do about this. Should I ask for advice in such an important issue? Roark wouldn't. Am I being a Peter Keating?"

"I did something wrong yesterday -- a white lie. I was embarrassed about something I said to X and I lied. I said I didn't meant it that way. Then, Y and Z turned on me and said it I was showing a terrible psychological weakness. I felt hurt, but I guess I deserved it. I wish they could be more polite, but I suppose it's wrong for me to expect that. They were right to be brutally honest -- they're Objectivists too."

[ end conflicts ]

[Caveat repeated: The above is to demonstrate types of issues and not meant to prompt discussion of the specific issues themselves.]

Some of these issues are addressed in Objectivist literature. Others have been addressed in forums such as these. Some may be real conflicts and something a person must change about themselves. Others are simply an issue of optional values. Still others are misunderstandings about Objectivism.

Thanks to a Forum such as this one, folks can (sometimes) work these things out more easily, because others may have thought through the same issue already.

With all that said, I'd like to ask the original poster, Ariana, this: you are not sure if Objectivism has made you any happier. Well, what has been its impact? Has it had no impact at all? Has it made some aspects happier and others less happy? If so, what are examples of the latter?

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There is a marked temporary increase in "happiness" when you see the sense that

objectivism makes about your relationship with reality.

But that increase in happiness is short lived, because even though YOU now see

things more clearly, you rapidly realize that the only reason you COULD see the

clarity that objectivism gives is because you were READY to understand it, and the

vast masses of people that surround you are NOT READY to understand it.

The HUGE amount of work that would be required to "convert" even ONE other

person is enough to take away your initial flush of happiness.

But,.. you don't actually LOSE any happiness either, because you at least have the

consolation of knowing that you understand things a bit better than you did before.

I imagine the reason that Branden was "astonished" at the question was similar to

asking a farmer if his tractor made him "happier".

"My tractor is a great tool, but farming is my work, and my happiness comes in

doing my work, not being 'happier' that I'm using a tractor as opposed to a

horseplow."

-Iakeo :pimp:

Edited by TomL to remove unnecessary quoting of entire original post

Edited by TomL

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The HUGE amount of work that would be required to "convert" even ONE other

person is enough to take away your initial flush of happiness.

The disgusting premise you try to smuggle in here and which runs throughout your post is that one's happiness depends on other people, "somehow". It does not.

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The disgusting premise you try to smuggle in here and which runs throughout your post is that one's happiness depends on other people, "somehow". It does not.

Disgusting? I know that I would be much happier if the majority of Americans preferred laissez faire capitalism to some form of mixed economy. Does that make my happiness in some degree dependent on other people? Why, yes it does. That is not to say that I cannot find other forms of happiness in my work, my romantic relationship, my books, my hobbies, etc. But as someone who is passionate about justice, I would be far happier if the government left me alone (and if a majority of my fellow Americans joined me in making it do so). To take a more extreme example, suppose I am kidnapped. My captor has the power to release me, torture me, or kill me. Does not my happiness depend on him? In the tyranny of democratic rule, the non-conformist is the captive of the majority.

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Abstract knowledge without use or practical value seems absurd to me.

Aside from the lives of many successful real life Objectivists, have you also forgotten about Ayn Rand's novels, which are filled with many examples of the "practical value" of her philosophy?

Objectivism is a system. It doesn't work unless you use it. Knowledge is not enough. You must consciously apply that knowledge to your life.

You, Ariana, seem a little confused about your status as an Objectivist. In reply to an Ayn Rand quote on hedonism and the standard of morality, you recently wrote:

I also seem to be a little confused/unsure about Rand's logic here too. She seems like a bit of a killjoy. Or as if she believes in virtue and goodness for their own sake. (She doesn't literally believe this--but sometimes it sounds uncannily like this.)

I don't think philosophical hedonists say pleasure is a "first cause" but rather a final result. To say that pleasure "is not a guide to action" seems to deny the pleasure/pain principle upon which all of life and flourishing is based. The deepest and widest pleasure is overall happiness--but it's still pleasure and an emotion. Rand usually implies that philosophical hedonists are mindless or stupid--which isn't very fair. I think it's interesting that the Encyclopedia Britannica puts "egoism" and "hedonism" under the same heading.

And then only an hour later you wrote:

The key here is: Do you agree with all the basic principles and main arguments [of Objectivism]? I know I do.

I'm not quite sure how you can claim to be in agreement with all of the basic principles of Objectivism when only an hour earlier you had expressed confusion over a fundamental Objectivist principle in ethics.

You clearly have not grasped the Objectivist morality. It would thus be unfair for you to call yourself an Objectivist and claim that your lack of additional joy is evidence that Objectivism fails to help people achieve happiness.

I suggest that if you put more effort into understanding and applying Ayn Rand's ethics, you may increase your happiness.

Edited by MisterSwig

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You clearly have not grasped the Objectivist morality. It would thus be unfair for you to call yourself an Objectivist and claim that your lack of additional joy is evidence that Objectivism fails to help people achieve happiness.

Well put! Let me reiterate my point:

[if you are not happy, then] the failure is yours, so check your premises and hit those books.

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