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Help me make a life changing decision - Military service

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I have been drawn to service since a young age. I'm talking about service in the Israeli army. I was born there, and came back to live there for a year last year. Its far from perfect and I have many problems with the way things are run in that country...

But I have to come to a decision soon. I've already started studying a year diploma, which I plan to complete in another few months. The problem for me is that I have a passion for trading, which I've been doing for 3 years. Right now, I have a massive edge over anyone else my age wanting to get into the industry(I've already had interviews at trading firms and hedge funds, some talking about starting me off with 100k to manage but it never eventuated).

If I join the army this edge will no longer be present, nor will I be a millionaire. It is not going to ruin my prospects, but it will mean that I have to delay my success and my millions for a few more years. And this is in addition to the fact that I can get kidnapped, killed or badly injured.

Still though its in my head and I cant get it out. I've continually written on a piece of paper the benefit vs the rewards and the rewards - and the risks seem to outweigh them - which doesn't help. What else can I ask myself? I have a split urge on both sides, one strongly draws me to service, and the other to just continue trading.

What is the best approach when having to make such decisions? I don't want to dismiss my "emotion" because I know I have made some great and correct decisions based on them as well(my logic was faulty, but my decisions off emotions were right). Help!? lol

Edited by airborne
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I have been drawn to service since a young age.
Why?

I know that's a small word for a big question, but it is the essential question. Concretize your answer as much as possible. The clothing? Defending Israel against invasion and terrorists? Moral obligation? Cool toys? What are the benefits, and are they benefits to you?

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I've been in the U.S. military, and there are things I would do the same and things I would do differently if I were to do it all again.

I'll just say this: put this decision in terms of a lifetime--your lifetime. Barring accidents, what would you be happy you did today, fifty years from now? A half century from now, will you be able to say that your decision now served your interests, your values, your happiness? Will you be happy you did it--going into the Israeli military, or going straight into trading?

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I've been trying to put all my thoughts on paper and this is what I think I've discovered.

I feel lots of social pressure to do it, I will take responsibility for it because I honestly left for Israel last year with this idea of joining, I just wanted to be sure. I was living with a friend who has now joined. Then I discovered Objectivism and it completely changed my perspective in regards to duty - "giving back", god, martyrdom.

But I also feel like it is a chapter of my life that I've always wanted, and I don't know how rational my thought-process was or still is - but I guess it has alot to do with being a hero - showing myself I can be a hero, and that I'm strong mentally and worthy(of success). But then at the same time I wouldn't join the Iranian Revolutionary guard to be a hero, I'd want to joint a just cause. Something worthy of my contribution. I'm different now then I was last year in that I'm not so passionate about "Jews" or zionism(which can mean all sorts of crazy ideas to people - lots of welfare for jews) as much as I am about liberty, lassaiz faire politics and rational people.

I wrote down negatives on if I join and don't join(the army). If I join I feel like alot will be taken away from me(not forever obviously). and If I don't I feel "empty", since I've been thinking about this since I was a kid, I don't exactly know what I'll do apart from trading and studying. There are many other things I want obviously but I've always envisioned them as coming later in life.

Anyway, to the point. I still don't know what I want to do. I'm not sure I know how to make the decision, if I'm evading something, or just scared to finally push a button which can flush or follow-through on years and years of emotional, mental and physical commitment.

Edited by airborne
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But I also feel like it is a chapter of my life that I've always wanted, and I don't know how rational my thought-process was or still is - but I guess it has alot to do with being a hero - showing myself I can be a hero, and that I'm strong mentally and worthy(of success). But then at the same time I wouldn't join the Iranian Revolutionary guard to be a hero, I'd want to joint a just cause. Something worthy of my contribution. I'm different now then I was last year in that I'm not so passionate about "Jews" or zionism(which can mean all sorts of crazy ideas to people - lots of welfare for jews) as much as I am about liberty, lassaiz faire politics and rational people.

Heroism is fine to strive for, but the greater part of what makes one heroic is that his actions achieve his values. You say you want to join a just cause - and that's great, but the pivotal question you have to answer is whether or not the Israeli army has such a cause. I will admit my ignorance on the details of what the Israeli army is up to most of the time, but it doesn't seem like the defense of liberty and laissez-faire is their primary objective, nor is it the objective of any army up on this earth. A just army should offer protection to a populace so that they can pursue such values; so if that is what you feel the Israeli army does then, yes, it has heroic potential. If the army, however, basically functions as a puppet of a mercenary government, the heroism that's appealing to you seems like it would be hard to come by.

Regardless, it seems like you have listed more reasons to the negative than to the positive. Maybe you could clarify a little more on what, besides the "fighting for a just cause" angle, makes you even have the inclination. What is it the army pursues that seems just to you? Do they act to create a world in which your values could thrive? These are the questions you must ask.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm a 22 year vet of the USAF, enlisted and officer, and still serving. My advice: If you want to serve for altruistic reasons, i.e. you beleive it is your moral obligation; then you haven't completely absorbed objectivism. On the other hand, if you want to serve in exchange for some value, be it adventure, medals, contribution to the defense of your life and freedom, conquering the challenges of military service, etc. then give it a go. In that regard, you will still be a trader. You will be trading your time in the service for the value(s) you seek in return, instead of trading stocks.

Griz

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  • 1 month later...

Disregard for now any other question, do you for entirely selfish reasons WANT to soldier?

All moralizing, philosophizing and equivocating aside does the decision ‘feel’ right to you?

Yes or No?

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Yes. It 'feels' right.

Then my initial gut reaction would be to act completely selfishly and go for it.

What is the worst that could happen? Your initial engagement would be what 3 years? Even if you hate it, I mean viscerally, completely HATE it you will do things that will broaden you as a human being and you will meet people whom you will love (and some you will hate) for the rest of your life.

Joining the military isn't necessarily for life. There are relatively few that become career soldiers, but I've yet to meet someone who did it even for a short time, that didn't get something useful from their service.

My wifes Uncle served only long enough to complete basic training, and he still talks about the things he did and the people he met.

Food for thought.

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  • 8 months later...

I have been in the US army for almost the last 2 years. If you literally want to be a soldier then you should go for it, but only if it is for purely selfish reasons ie...the money, benefits, etc.

I too always wanted to serve in the military from a young age. Since I have joined I have realized that I wanted to join for all the wrong reasons. Before I was introduced to Oism I thought of the armed services as heroic and that they were doing the things that needed to be done for the country. After reading AS I started checking my premises and discovered that I had joined for purely altruistic reasons. Its a good thing that I only signed up for 2 years to start with because I definatly no longer believe in the legitimacy or the actions of the US army.

Even though I really dislike the army, I can definately see that it has affected me deeply. Most of the changes that it has made in my life were for the better, but at the same time it doesn't make me happy at all.

My advice to you would be to make sure that you are considering joining because it serves your own interests and that it is something that you really want to do because it would benefit you. Make sure that your motives aren't altruistic or you may end up in the army doing something that you wanted to do, but being miserable the whole time.

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  • 3 months later...

As long as the free or freer nations have enemies, military service is an honerable profession. Ayn Rand regareded American soldiers as heroes and supported the nation of Israel as the freest place in the near East.

Even though I oppose the policy of the Iraq war (based on fraud and self-destructive). I think the guys who fought were and are heroes

http://cockpit.spacepatrol.us/iraqnophobia.html

As part of military and professional discipline, you go and fight where you are told to. That is one of the consequences of a volunteer army.

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The last time I talked to airborne on chat (quite some time ago) the decision had been made to not join the IDF. During that chat airborne realized that the pressure to serve was social and almost obligatory.

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