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A quick question - Did all of you here live by principles of objectivism basically all your lives and therefore reading Ayn Rand at some stage simply give a name to your beliefs? Or did you follow a completely different philosophy that was turned upside down by objectivist ideas?

Personally, I never knew much about metaphysics and epistemology since I never formally studied philosophy but I always held that a person had a right to exist for his sake and his sake only and that he should never expect anyone else to sacrifice their lives for his sake. I knew how important it was to think independently and consequently, supported Capitalism. I am still very new to objectivism and so now I am beginning to learn about the foundation of it all - namely metaphysics and epistemology.

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I have not changes much since I discovered Objectivism. I'd say my beliefs have be given a backbone and from that I have refined them, and I continue to. I know understand why I believe the things I do, where before I found it difficult to piece together. I knew I was right, I just didn't understand how. Thanks to Objectivism I understand anything I want to.

Just a note, since I became an Objectivist everything; school, work, the pursuit of my dreams, and life in general have become a lot eaiser. I just know what to expect, I know how everyting works.

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I discovered Ayn Rand about two years ago when I was listening to the Sean Hannity radio show and he was talking about school vouchers. I didn't know what a school voucher was and through an internet search I stumbled upon a editiorial on CapitalismMagazine.com. I read some stuff on that site and then read "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal," because at that point all I really was interested in was politics, I hadn't given much thought to my entire philisophical views. This opened my eyes to the entire Objectivist philosophy beginning with "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged."

Since then, Objectivism has really helped me to begin to live my life in a rational, principled manner.

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I've always believed that Myself comes before others. I've never been religeous either. I found out about Ayn Rand by reading a novel by an author named Terry Goodkind. He writes based upon Ayn Rands philosophy.

I have made one big mistake in my life though. I joined the military. They preach voluteerism, and self-sacrifice above all else. Our three core values are integrity, excellence in all we do, and then they contridict the first two with the third core value- service before self.

It's been absolute torture for me. I don't have the freedom to get out and I hate my job. The only thing that keeps me going is that I do get some free time like any other job and the fact that when they tell you to do something, I have the freedom to do it in any way I chose- just as long as the job gets done and it's done and its done within certain limits.

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Yes and no.

I lived in Ukraine until I was about 11. I read pretty much everything I could get my hands on, and my favorite authors were Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne. I think learned about reason, heroism, and independence from them.

Politically however, I was a real mess up until my sophomore year of college. I was an activist leftist and environmentalist, and even considered becoming an orthodox Jew at one point. Fortunately, around that time I got involved with a libertarian who introduced me to capitalism – and took my first economics class. It took me some time to openly admit the change, but I was a greedy capitalist from then on. Unlike my libertarian friends, I also made the connection between capitalism, reason, and selfishness. I became an atheist and tried very had to justify egoism on an altruistic basis. Needless to say, I didn’t get very far. So when I browsed the ARI website based on a friends advice (and a warning not to “take it too seriously”) and saw how egoism could be a virtue, I was sold for life :)

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Grew up christian/catholic with a political lean to the Republican party (no big suprise there). Always was an individualist but my personal ideas clashed with religion and my method of dealing with this was to supress the contradiction(s).

I started getting into Rand when my best friend gave me a copy of the Fountainhead. It was everything I wanted/needed but it still took some time to get the religion out of me (Catholicism is a tough one, people).

The friend became a Marxist shortly after and proceeded to mock me behind my back for my O'ist leanings and reclusive behavior (I wasn't anti-social, just pro-individual and with a higher standard of human behavior). He's now an ex-friend I haven't talked to in years.

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I can simply echo everything that sedriss scott blaine just posted, except replace "Catholic" with "Mormon" (and change a couple of other minor details).

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I was born and raised a Sikh, so I've always recognized the supremacy of reason.  Then after reading Rand, I consistently applied reason to my philosophy.

I'm not very familiar with Sikh culture. Is it based on the supremacy of reason? It does seem there are a lot of Objectivists in India.

As for myself, I discovered Objectivism through The Fountainhead, after joining the Army. I graduated from high school in 1980, and never once heard Ayn Rand's name mentioned in school. (Things are different now, thankfully, with the essay contests, etc.) The philosopher who most influenced me prior to AR was Nietzsche. So AR was the antidote to Nietzsche's subjectivism for me.

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I wasn't especially political or philosophical until I was about 24.

I had been training on and off for years using Mike Menzter's Heavy Duty system and when I started applying myself to it, I got his HD II book and that was my start with Objectivism.

I bought Atlas Shrugged just about 5 years ago ( at the same time as the LOTR but that's another story.) I then got my computer and went on the internet and I have loads of AR stuff plus a couple of efforts by Leonard Peikoff and I have the Objectivist Forum and "The government against the economy" by George Reisman.

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I'm not very familiar with Sikh culture. Is it based on the supremacy of reason? It does seem there are a lot of Objectivists in India.

As for myself, I discovered Objectivism through The Fountainhead, after joining the Army. I graduated from high school in 1980, and never once heard Ayn Rand's name mentioned in school. (Things are different now, thankfully, with the essay contests, etc.) The philosopher who most influenced me prior to AR was Nietzsche. So AR was the antidote to Nietzsche's subjectivism for me.

Sikh "culture?" No. Sikh philosophy (correctly interpreted)? Yes. It primarily provides epistemological (pro-reason) guidance. chahal.info has the most accurate presentation of Sikhi if you're interested.

I had no idea there were a lot of Objectivists in India. Any idea why that is so?

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In my senior year of high school I was exposed to Ayn Rand's philosophy when I was assigned to read The Fountainhead for my English AP class.

Before that I was not very analytical, and I did not have any knowledge of what philosophy was. While I considered myself to be intelligent, I was the kind of person whose beliefs were merely based on what I absorbed from the environment around me.

However, there was one major belief that I had that resonated very well with Objectivism, and that is the idea that evasion is a major evil. I strongly believed that a major problem in the world was people ignoring problems and being content with mediocrity instead of facing their problems head on and striving for the highest excellence possible.

It was the strong emphasis on individual achievement, virtue, and egoism that specifically attracted me to Objectivism, even though my beliefs in just about all of the other areas were not very strong.

The summer after my senior year I bought all the Rand books I could find and read a lot of great books including Atlas Shrugged as well as the majority of her non-fiction.

So unlike what most people seem to be saying here, I was not like an Objectivist at all for most of my life, however, I did resonate strongly with some of Rand's core principles once I came to learn them. I've since come to agree with all of them that I am aware of.

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I was a troubled youth who skipped lots of school, never did homework but still got 100 on the test. I'm sure I infuriated many a classmate and/or teacher. I went to on average 2 different schools per year up until 9th grade so by the time I got to high school I was socially digressed. My mother was a hippie going through a 2nd childhood too when I was younger so that didn't help either.

That all changed when I moved in with my Dad in 9th grade. Even though school was still a bore I got into Cross Country and Track, made friends and had enough discipline to run a lawn business to pay for my cars and expenses. I owe all of this to my Father who was a positive influence and stressed hard work to get what you want and doing the best job you can.

For some reason I joined the Air Force out of High School. I had gotten a really high ASVAB score and figured I could get a cool job and see some of the world. Boy was I wrong. They stuck me in supply counting screws in N California. I quickly grew to hate the military and all of its hipocrisy and ass-kissing. I badly wanted out and started trying to get out early. I tried to get transferred to a more meaningful job or go to a different base as well and it all fell on deaf ears. So I disobeyed a direct order from my commander and they kicked me out. Oh no!

Unfortunately not having a philosophical base to fall back upon I fell in with a bad crowd and started partying too much. Again my Dad comes to the rescue and pulls me back to reality somewhat. Its about this time that I started reading Atlas Shrugged. One of my step-dads had a copy of it laying around and somehow I carried it around with me for years but never read it. Once I finished that I started doing research on my own on the subject and quickly read The Fountainhead and Capitalism the Unknown Ideal. Since I've become a student of Objectivism ( 7-8 years now ) I feel I've found self-confidence, success, and a great life. No other philosophy rings true like objectivism does to me.

I wish my AP english teacher had had us read the Fountainhead when I was in HS. Instead we focused a lot on Existentialism :P. An earlier introduction to objectivism would have saved me a lot of wasted time and made me a happier person in my pre-20's. It all worked out and I think I may appreciate it more having seen the other side though.

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I like reading "intellectual histories." :P

I was a smart kid, and it always bugged me that my peers would make fun of me for getting good grades and for reading. I was also raised as an atheist, very different from my mostly-Catholic friends. I didn't really think about "existing for one's own sake," but I certainly wasn't into community service, and when we studied Buddhism in my 9th grade "Civilizations" class, I thought "life is suffering" was a crock, even though many others seemed to accept this as "deep."

My older brother has been studying Objectivism for a long time, and in high school he used read me short passages from Ayn Rand's work, mostly Capitalism and The Virtue of Selfishness, I think. Eventually I read Anthem, and then in my senior year of high school, The Fountainhead. That, of course, got me hooked, but I knew right away that these were ideas that others thought crazy or even "dangerous," so I didn't speak up too much about it. My parents were liberals, and my dad especially, though a brilliant man, was pretty hostile to anything related to Rand.

My freshman year of college, a close friend sent me what I called my Ayn Rand kit: OPAR, the Lexicon, Ayn Rand postal stamps (I still have some) and Rachmaninov's 4 piano concertos. It wasn't until September 11 that I really started taking philosophy seriously, though. I read more Rand (though I still don't have a handle on OPAR), and found myself increasingly alone in the sea of liberalism that is my school. My junior year, I wrote a paper on intellectual property for an independent study with a professor I really liked, and I used a quote from Rand. Her response? A comment that Rand is not an "academic" source.

This is the first year, however, that I've started arguing from an Objectivist perspective. For the most part before I would keep quiet in class, unless I had something uncontroversial, or something that wouldn't be labeled "conservative" to say. As smart as people here are, they don't grasp the subtleties of any thought that is not liberal--if it's not liberal, it's conservative. A select few have noticed that I have "libertarian leanings," and I usually leave it at that. For some reason, the name Ayn Rand (which everyone insists on pronouncing "Ann") either raises people's ire or makes them dismiss me out of hand.

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Sikh "culture?"  No.  Sikh philosophy (correctly interpreted)?  Yes.  It primarily provides epistemological (pro-reason) guidance.  chahal.info has the most accurate presentation of Sikhi if you're interested.
I know a few Sikhs but have never found any particluar pro reason approach in them. In my experience, Sikhism is just another religion. But perhaps you know something I don't, being a Sikh yourself. Just what are the pro reason element in Sikh "Philosophy" ?

I had no idea there were a lot of Objectivists in India.  Any idea why that is so?

Here's what Matt Ludin (ARI) wrote to me: "The response I get from India has been surprisingly great compared to any other foreign country."

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My junior year, I wrote a paper on intellectual property for an independent study with a professor I really liked, and I used a quote from Rand. Her response? A comment that Rand is not an "academic" source.

LOL! :) The exact same thing happened to me when I was still at a junior college doing my generals. Same topic, used Rand as a source (probably from the same article as you, if it was the one on intellectual property from CUI), and got an identical comment about that from the professor. That's too funny. :P Still got a decent grade on the paper, though. How about you?

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I know a few Sikhs but have never found any particluar pro reason approach in them. In my experience, Sikhism is just another religion. But perhaps you know something I don't, being a Sikh yourself. Just what are the pro reason element in Sikh "Philosophy" ?

Here's what Matt Ludin (ARI) wrote to me: "The response I get from India has been surprisingly great compared to any other foreign country."

*Mainstream* Sikhi is "just another religion." The majority of "Sikhs" don't understand what Sikhi really is - you can compare it to the majority of philosophers not understanding what Objectivism really is. That is why I said Sikh "culture" is *not* pro-reason. Sikh philosophy on the other hand, if it is correctly interpreted, *is* pro-reason. chahal.info gives elaboration on the pro-reason elements of Sikhi. And to clarify, I agree w/ certain ideas of the Sikh Gurus, but reject Sikhi. I don't like labels, but I would feel comfortable calling myself an Objectivist, since I agree w/ the fundamental principles.

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While my parents were members of a fundamentalist church, their own way of thinking contradicted what I learned in Sunday school. The first time I really questioned what I was being taught was after I asked my father who he loved the most, my mother, my brothers, or me (hey, I was young). He answered that he loved himself first! This was a stunning answer, given what I was being taught about being unselfish. He went on to explain that if he didn't love himself first, he wouldn't be able to really love anyone else. This one insight changed everything for me.

I actually fell in love with ideas after taking a Great Books class during my junior year in high school and, thus, I began my lifelong love affair with philosophy and the history of ideas (and their consequences). I wasn't introduced to Ayn Rand until my early 20's, when I read Atlas Shrugged. It was like coming home. Everything I had been thinking fell into place. I've never looked back.

The older I get (and compared to most on this board, I'm REALLY old), the more first-hand knowledge I have of the consequences of today's prevailing ideas, the more I see the truth of Objectivism. Miss Rand's philosophy, along with a good knowledge of history, allows one to cut through the muck being offered as wisdom these days, and understand the world around us. One is able to see the evils in our world for the ancient evils they are, whether the justifications are dressed up in environmentalist, conservative, liberal, or even tricked-up libertarian rhetoric.

It has been a glorious journey.

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In my 18 years I have gone through a number of ideological transformations. The first creed I felt strongly about was communism, but after my 11th birthday I came to the realisation that my devotion to this twisted doctrine was derived from an inherent need to rebel against the systems and peoples that governed me. Since then I have examined grass-roots conservatism, neo-conservatism, progressive liberalism and libertarianism…until finally I discovered the wonderful world of Ayn Rand.

My adherence to Objectivism has its roots in my personality traits.

From a very young age I have hated being told what to do, primarily because I felt those doing all the telling where my intellectual inferiors (and in most cases I was correct). The only person who knows what's best for Invictus is Invictus. (Capitalism)

I have often been the victim of vicious jealously on the part of my peers. Rand taught me that they were merely attempting to cut me down to their own contemptibly small size. (Egoism)

I was by far the first among my age group to discard notions of God, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. To me, A has always been A. (Reason)

Helping others has never been a hobby of mine. I could not stand it when I was asked as a child to waste my time assisting the brainless idiot who would sit at the back of the class and talk when he should have been working. (Egoism)

I have always had an unshakable faith in my own abilities. This has led me to believe that I can know and achieve practically anything that I desire. (Reason, egoism)

Working on my own, without the assistance of others, was how I achieved the best results I could. Whenever I was thrown into a "group" I would always struggle, I felt that the other group members were holding me back. (Individualism)

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Invictus,

While reading this post I was much reminded of myself. Not necessarily the parts about the transformations of ideologies but more of your recounts of your personal traits and your past. Also they were very nicely put, I enjoyed reading it, and it was inspiring. Welcome.

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Invictus,

While reading this post I was much reminded of myself.  Not necessarily the parts about the transformations of ideologies but more of your recounts of your personal traits and your past.  Also they were very nicely put, I enjoyed reading it, and it was inspiring.  Welcome.

It is a pleasure to be here.

I think a lot of children growing up share the experiences and feelings expressed in my post. Unfortunately, any notions of self-worth that a child might develop are decried as evil and quickly purged by teachers, churches and society at large.

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I was raised in a Catholic, Conservative Republican family and inherited my faith and politics. In college I was exposed but managed to remain immune to the liberalism that oozed from my professors.

While serving in the military I became more of a libertarian after reading several books and articles about the proper role of government that seemed to make perfect sense to me. (I also began to cultivate a healthy distaste and resentment of authority in general).

A "civilian" now, I recall several years ago encountering a reference to a novel and author I'd never heard of (Ayn Rand's Fountainhead) while researching the origins of "Libertarianism" on the library computer. The novel had a profound effect on me. I have since read the rest of her fiction and some of her non-fiction. I find the person of Rand fascinating and have read the biographies by both Barbara and Nathaniel Branden. I've also read Branden's books on psychology and self-esteem.

I've been reading about Objectivism for a few years and have recently branched out to other "-isms" in hope of gaining a broader perspective and better understanding of philosophy in general (I sense I've gotten in way over my head). My goal is to develop what has been a subconscious sense of life into a conscious philosophy of life chosen by myself.

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(AshRyan @ Mar 20 2004, 03:38 PM)

LOL! The exact same thing happened to me when I was still at a junior college doing my generals. Same topic, used Rand as a source (probably from the same article as you, if it was the one on intellectual property from CUI), and got an identical comment about that from the professor. That's too funny. Still got a decent grade on the paper, though. How about you?

That's very funny. I did well on the paper, though I only quoted Rand once or twice and mainly used other sources. (And yes, the quote was from "Patents and Copyrights" in CUI).

This year I've been working on my senior oral thesis on private property theory and my advisor (a different poli sci prof) asked which sources I saw lining up with my own views the most. I tentatively mentioned Rand, saying that I realized she was not very popular at Swat, and surprisingly, he responded by saying that it didn't matter, if I wanted to use Rand it wasn't a problem! But he's probably the only prof in the department who has ever taken her seriously--he's a socialist, but he's done a lot of work on Nozick, so I guess he was a little more open to "entertaining" such ideas.

(Sorry I took so long to respond, Ash.)

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