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Time Tourist

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    Hello everyone. I'm a 41 year old British Londoner. I grew up in a 'centre-left' leaning household, was taught that selfishness means being bad while 'altruism' means being kind, considerate and generally nice. I voted Labour, I argued in favour of higher taxes and thought government regulation could solve everything. I told people I was 'spiritual not religious', I flirted with eastern mysticism and thought I was somehow smarter than the other guy because I was onto something different from the mainstream. I liked obscure, foreign language black and white movies and again thought it was a sign of my intelligence that I was anti mainstream hollywood movies with their larger than life heroes and 'overcome obstacles, succeed in the end' stories. I had a generally snobbish attitude towards America and thought Europe/Europeans were somehow superior while Americans were somehow dumb. In short, I was your basic nightmare. Then at the age of 30, a girlfriend gave me The Fountainhead. I fought against it at first but was intrigued by the characters and the ideas. Then I read Atlas Shrugged, Capitalism the Unknown Ideal, Virtue of Selfishness, Romantic Manifesto and all the rest. I took Leonard Peikoff’s courses on the history of philosophy and I think it was then that it all clicked for me and I realised Rand was the defining genius pretty much of all time. She changed my mind on almost everything including the course of all history. This has been an 11 year process (so far) of learning. I continue to (re) read Ayn Rand and am completely convinced that philosophy is the most important topic that any human being can study. It has been an amazing and wonderful journey but… there are downsides. I wonder if anyone can relate? Throughout this 11 year journey I have found it increasingly difficult to relate to most people around me. I love and am very close to my parents but they cannot understand or relate to my new opinions. I’ve had the same friends for 20+ years (basically uni friends) but they are all still pretty much like I ‘was’. I tried introducing them to Rand and having discussions with them on certain topics but essentially they are not interested; too happy to cling to the familiar certainty of their old views. All the shared memories, trips, stories; all our history is seeping away because we can’t seem to connect anymore. In many ways, the friendships are dying. Now that I see the philosophical basis to things, I find 95% of mainstream media news and general political discussion so tedious and shallow. TV shows that are held up to be ‘the greatest ever’ (i.e. Breaking Bad: story of a pathetic man making bad moral choices) I find totally boring and uninspiring. I know I could get new friends and be happy about meeting people with better values but at 41 with a young family and having just started my own business I have no time. I also don’t like the idea of losing touch with old friends with whom I shared so much. I’ve trying a kind of compromise where I focus on work and family, still seeing old friends from time to time to keep the flame alive (maybe they’ll have the Ayn Rand catharsis/epiphany too at a later date?) and then leading this slightly secret life where I go to Ayn Rand Meetup group events and join blogs like this to find like minds online. I’m guessing perhaps other people have been through the same?
  • Experience with Objectivism
    Read all Ayn Rand books, taken most of Leonard Peikoff courses, listened to lots of ARI course content from Onkhar Ghate, Yaron Brook, Peter Schwartz etc.
  • Occupation
    Ex stock market trader, now trying to start my own business.

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  1. Looks like I'm 11 years too late on this one but since it has recently been bumped thought I'd add my perspective from Europe. I live in London, which is immense for the diversity, opportunity and geographic location. If you want to get into 1940s Czech films that have been dubbed into Cantonese you can probably find a society of 50 people that want to do it with you. Everyday, literally 50 plane loads of Greeks, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, Polish etc escape their dead economies looking for -and finding- work in London. There is a never-ending array of food, drink, music, theatre, museums etc. Not to mention the intellectual life where places like the Adam Smith Institute or the Institute for Economic Affairs are forever putting on speeches and discussions. Finally, you are 2 hours from Paris, Rome, Berlin etc for weekends. On the flip side, all the key services (roads, schools, housing, airports, health care) are all either monopolised by the government or regulated to hell and back by the government. Pretty much all of them are, as a result, in various states of awfulness. Add this together with a very old city with very small roads and day-today reality is a little painful. It's the trade-off. I've spent quite a bit of time in Tokyo over the years, which has quite a bit less diversity but is MUCH better organised. So my long answer to the short question is: would prefer to live in a London-style megalopolis IF it could be better organised. Since such places don't exist: I'm increasingly attracted to mid-sized European cities like Barcelona. There is almost zero decent Asian food and job prospects are largely horrific but if you can find your niche, quality of life is high.
  2. Cheers. You have perfectly summarised my approach. Try to keep some of the friendships going and accept them for what they are. And trying to look for 'more' in the limited time that I have. Look forward to seeing you around the site.
  3. Cheers William O, Thanks for reminding me of that. I have read that book but forgot about that particular section. To be clear, I haven't really tried to convert anyone and certainly not my parents. But discussions came up and then people would say, 'what do you think' and all of a sudden they were hearing views come out of me they couldn't believe. A few friends stuck their head in the sand and their fingers in their ears. Others were curious and asked about it. I even gifted copies of the Fountainhead to 2 friends who expressed interest. But mostly, I keep it to myself and hence need to seek an outlet in places like this! I'm also starting my own blog, which I might even publicise one day.
  4. Thank you chief. It's funny, I often hear in American discussion the sentence, "I liked Ayn Rand when I was in High School but one soon grows out of that". Whereas in the UK, at least in my experience, almost no one hears about Ayn Rand at all until they are at least 25; or in my case, 30. I think the internet is changing all that and indeed, more and more people are picking her up over here. Like you say, good news... and not a moment too soon when two of the major candidates to be leaders of our countries at the next elections (Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn) openly identify themselves as socialists.
  5. I know I'm in the tiny tiny minority on this one but I really found it boring and spectacularly over long -I think you could cut at least 1.5 seasons out of it without making much difference. As to whether it's good or bad art, we would need a standard against which to measure it. The objectivist standard, as I understand it, is that art is supposed to be a fuel for our sense of life, depicting man as he ought to be and could be. In Walter White we have a rather pathetic, bumbling, flabby middle-aged man presented with a life changing problem (cancer). At each stage of his decay, he seems to say, 'it wasn't my fault, you can't blame me, there's nothing else I could have done!'. This is precisely the anti-hero of the day. Anyway, this probably should be a topic for discussion in the aesthetics section of the site. Thanks for your welcome though, I look forward to bumping into you across the discussions.
  6. Welcome to the site buddy. I'm a Brit who just joined as well.. looks interesting huh. As for tackling Atlas Shrugged; why not try the audio book? 'Audible' offers 1 free book if you are a new customer. The 63hr audiobook is on there (make sure you choose the UNabridged version). Same story for Fountainhead.. only 32 hours! You can listen on the train or bus or when you are doing the dishes. One other thing I'd say is check out the Leonard Peikoff 'History of Philosophy' courses on the ARI website. They are quite involved but I found them exceptional. For me personally, I don't think I could properly understand just what Ayn Rand achieved (or what she was on about half the time!) until I heard the context in terms of the history of philosophy. For example, this, my favourite quote, made so much more sense after that course, "Through centuries of scourges and disasters, brought about by your code of morality, you have cried that your code had been broken, that the scourges were punishment for breaking it, that men were too weak and too selfish to spill all the blood it required. You damned man, you damned existence, you damned this earth, but never dared to question your code. Your victims took the blame and struggled on, with your curses as reward for their martyrdom-while you went on crying that your code was noble, but human nature was not good enough to practice it. And no one rose to ask the question: Good? -by what standard?"
  7. Hello everyone. I'm a 41 year old British Londoner. I grew up in a 'centre-left' leaning household, was taught that selfishness means being bad while 'altruism' means being kind, considerate and generally nice. I voted Labour, I argued in favour of higher taxes and thought government regulation could solve everything. I told people I was 'spiritual not religious', I flirted with eastern mysticism and thought I was somehow smarter than the other guy because I was onto something different from the mainstream. I liked obscure, foreign language black and white movies and again thought it was a sign of my intelligence that I was anti mainstream hollywood movies with their larger than life heroes and 'overcome obstacles, succeed in the end' stories. I had a generally snobbish attitude towards America and thought Europe/Europeans were somehow superior while Americans were somehow dumb. In short, I was your basic nightmare. Then at the age of 30, a girlfriend gave me The Fountainhead. I fought against it at first but was intrigued by the characters and the ideas. Then I read Atlas Shrugged, Capitalism the Unknown Ideal, Virtue of Selfishness, Romantic Manifesto and all the rest. I took Leonard Peikoff’s courses on the history of philosophy and I think it was then that it all clicked for me and I realised Rand was the defining genius pretty much of all time. She changed my mind on almost everything including the course of all history. This has been an 11 year process (so far) of learning. I continue to (re) read Ayn Rand and am completely convinced that philosophy is the most important topic that any human being can study. It has been an amazing and wonderful journey but… there are downsides. I wonder if anyone can relate? Throughout this 11 year journey I have found it increasingly difficult to relate to most people around me. I love and am very close to my parents but they cannot understand or relate to my new opinions. I’ve had the same friends for 20+ years (basically uni friends) but they are all still pretty much like I ‘was’. I tried introducing them to Rand and having discussions with them on certain topics but essentially they are not interested; too happy to cling to the familiar certainty of their old views. All the shared memories, trips, stories; all our history is seeping away because we can’t seem to connect anymore. In many ways, the friendships are dying. Now that I see the philosophical basis to things, I find 95% of mainstream media news and general political discussion so tedious and shallow. TV shows that are held up to be ‘the greatest ever’ (i.e. Breaking Bad: story of a pathetic man making bad moral choices) I find totally boring and uninspiring. I know I could get new friends and be happy about meeting people with better values but at 41 with a young family and having just started my own business I have no time. I also don’t like the idea of losing touch with old friends with whom I shared so much. Also, in stark honesty, I'm no Howard Roark, I do need other people; for validation, recognition and support. I also like/need to have a beer, laugh and forget my woes/worries from time to time. I think some of this is perhaps psychological weakness and I need to be tougher. I'm working on it. In the meantime, I’m trying a kind of compromise where I focus on work and family, still seeing old friends from time to time to keep the flame alive (maybe they’ll have the Ayn Rand catharsis/epiphany too at a later date?) and then leading this second life where I go to Ayn Rand Meetup group events and join blogs like this to find like minds online. I’m wonder if other people have been through the same?
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