Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Why are you an Objectivist?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

Playing the newbie card again. Don't know if the question has been asked and answered, but I'm curious.

Specifically: What happened in your life to make you receptive to Objectivism when you were introduced to it?

Some of us discovered Ayn Rand by accident. (Me) Some were given some of her works to read in school. Some got a book from a friend or family member.

Probably more read it and shrugged and weren't interested than those of us for whom the introduction was life-altering.

Something set each of us up to be receptive to Ayn Rand's ideas.

What?

ES

Link to post
Share on other sites
Something set each of us up to be receptive to Ayn Rand's ideas.

I first read Rand around age 21-22. Since I started with all the fiction, it was definitely her portrayal of an Objectivist sense of life that got my attention. When I read the non-fiction, I was most attracted to the Objectivist exaltation of reason. However, I don't think I was ever in a state where I would have been unreceptive to her ideas. Even though entire family is religious, I've never had faith. I believed the stories until I was old enough to question what authority figures told me, then I never stopped questioning. I'm wary of saying that something external to me caused my receptiveness to Objectivism, but I might grant that certain factors eased my transition to the philosophy. Those factors would be 1) both of my parents intelligence, 2) their great parenting, and 3) my dad's tireless authority-questioning.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had heard about Atlas Shrugged in the news around age ten, and the cover art had stuck with me all the way up until age 17, When I finally bought and read it. I had never accepted the idea that a human is evil simply by nature of existence and what his first ancestor did in a garden to the east (even though some seem to think that this is true, but that being the great-grandson af a slave-owner makes you racist). The exalted sense of life and the moral basis for capitalism struck me as correct, and subsequent thought and reading has made my convictions only stronger.

If you want a Freudian answer, it would probably be that my introvertive tendencies were intensified after my little brother was born, and I became extremely possessive, as my things were constantly destroyed by him.

Either way, Objectivism doesn't compute only with those who are prejudiced, emotional, or simply lazy (unless, of course, they simply refuse to recognize it).

Other factors probably include friends, my highly intelligent father and art.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On or about April 15th of last year (tax filing deadline in the US), I was on a rant about how taxes are "really just stealing" and my boss suggested I read Atlas Shrugged. I was a very (very, very, very) frustrated conservative Republican, probably agnostic (although I wasn't sure about that either) and in a bad marriage that was chipping away at me financially, emotionally, psychologically and physically. My leg was also broken in two places, so I had a lot of down time. Not too far into the book, I knew I would be filing for divorce.

Once finished with the book, I was dying to speak with someone about it, so I found this forum, then started visiting the chat room. Through one of the online friends I made here, I discovered there was a large Objectivist group meeting not far from my home, Front Range Objectivism. Through another online friend I made here, I met someone very special to me who has helped me realize what real, romantic love is all about.

I am still dealing with the financial repercussions of my divorce, but I've never been happier with myself, my career or my relationships. If this much happiness can be had after just 15 or so months of studying Objectivism, I have no doubt about the wonderful future that lies ahead of me as I integrate more and more of what I'm still learning.

(I don't mean to make it all sound perfect either. :fool: We all have our days, our moments, our tragedies, but I believe that understanding and living the philosophy of Objectivism will better prepare me to handle any of the ups and downs that life inevitably throws our way.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think what really made me receptive to Objectivism was simply the sense that something was really, really *wrong* with the world and no one seemed to care what it was or how to fix it. I never really believed that things just "don't make sense" or "that's the way things are".

That, and I've always been a loner and an individualist (of sorts).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always been logically-minded. I never liked assuming things that couldn't be proven. Objectivism for me was more a reaffirmation and solidification of what I always felt must be true, but lacked the formula to understand why. Why it was attractive is because it doesn't require grand assumptions or faith to follow the logic. Moreover, it's complete. There isn't some unanswered problem with it that needs to be addressed before it could truly be proven. This past summer when I took a philosophy class in college, I had to learn about all these other philosophical theories like Utilitarianism, for example, and I had to read how philosophers (to this day) have to try to keep reinventing theories in order to make them "work". Objectivism doesn't require any of that. It's done. It's answered.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a childhood that in many regards paralled that of Francisco's. For reasons unknown to me at this point, my values were roughly equivalent to those of the heroes in Rand's books. I was an avid reader of philosophers and intellectuals of all sorts before I stumbled upon Rand, and I did notice that I never quite could agree or understand everything each of them was saying. Rand was different for me though. She wrote with clarity.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great answers, all. A thread of commonality that I suspected had to be there. Had to chuckle, K-Mac, at your first paragraph. Occurred to me it is probably fortuante for us your boss didn't suggest you read Sun Tzu.

My prep was the same as many of you. I was the first grandchild of two grandmothers who were widowed when I was a toddler. I got a lot of attention (read spoiled) and encouragement to think for myself. I was not popular with my Sunday school teachers and school teachers. I asked inappropriate questions.

When I discovered Ayn Rand via a 20-year old copy of THE FOUNTAINHEAD at age 20, I was exhilerated to discover that I wasn't the only one crosswise with the world.

Looking forward to more answers. ES

Link to post
Share on other sites

Prior to discovering Objectivism, I held the following beliefs which I think made me receptive to Rand's message:

1) The absolutism of reality. The world was what it was, not what people wanted it to be.

2) The rejection of faith. Knowledge had to be based on observation and validated by logic. At the time, I called this "science".

3) Intellectual honesty as a value. What was, was, and there was no virtue in pretending that something was true if it wasn't, or that it wasn't true if it was.

4) The rejection of force as a mode of interpersonal relations. I didn't grasp this in a systematic political way, but I really resented the way I was often made to do things I couldn't see any justification for, and was threatened with punishment for non-compliance. I always thought that if it was so obvious that X was the right thing to do, then people could damn well explain to me why X was the right thing to do.

5) No desire to sacrifice my values to other people or to God.

I think it's obvious how, with that sort of a context, it took me less than a dozen pages of The Fountainhead before I concluded that I was on to something really good.

Edited by khaight
Link to post
Share on other sites

Objectivism fits. It makes sense. It's not some wishy washy gobbelygook trying to tell me that my mind and senses lie, that nothing is real and that no one can be or act what they claim to be or do. It doesn't try to tell me that I'm inherently evil or flawed or that this life is all about suffering. It doesn't tell me that success, money, joy, sex, pride selfishness and ego are 'sins'

In short it denies all those lies I've been indoctrinated to believe (on faith) but was never able to accept.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Objectivism fits. It makes sense. It's not some wishy washy gobbelygook trying to tell me that my mind and senses lie, that nothing is real and that no one can be or act what they claim to be or do. It doesn't try to tell me that I'm inherently evil or flawed or that this life is all about suffering. It doesn't tell me that success, money, joy, sex, pride selfishness and ego are 'sins'

In short it denies all those lies I've been indoctrinated to believe (on faith) but was never able to accept.

Well-stated, Zip. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I first read this thread my temptation was to post a one-sentence reply, "because it makes sense," and leave it at that.

Zip pretty much gave the long form of my answer but I'll add one more thing. Before finding Objectivism, I was pro-capitalism on utilitarian grounds, an atheist, a sciencehead, didn't like anything called "art" or "literature," but was also fundamentally an altruist. So the ethics, I have to admit, were somewhat discordant to me. It took me a *long* time to realize both that the ethics were right, AND that it was futile to defend capitalism on utilitarian grounds (two very closely related issues, acutally).

The art appreciation came most recently (thank you, Quent and Linda Cordair, and more recently Sophia, and Athena, and Old Toad).

I initially liked most of Objectivism, but didn't realize it was better than I thought, until quite a bit more recently.

Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, similar thread here.

What happened in your life to make you receptive to Objectivism when you were introduced to it?

I can't say as there was any particular event. I've just always been independent-minded and explicitly encouraged to be so by my parents. My first degree was in electrical engineering, and I've always been reality and reasoning oriented. When I finally came across AS and TF during that degree my adoption of Objectivism was mostly seamless. I did have major problems with rationalism, but I didn't hold any ideas that conflicted with Objectivism in any significant way as I recall.

Something set each of us up to be receptive to Ayn Rand's ideas.

There was one thing in Objectivist epistemology that I had figured out for myself as a young teenager - I realised that 'twoness' was something that had a basis in reality, but that we had to identify it ourselves. I think I figured that out as a result of starting to learn German in school, because the same one idea had different names in different languages that had different origins. That was as far as my thoughts on concept-formation went, but it was enough for me to grab the thesis of ITOE with both hands.

JJM

Link to post
Share on other sites

I picked up a copy of Atlas Shrugged in a bookstore using a gift card I'd gotten for Christmas (talk about irony). I was a deep conservative Republican, and heard the book had some pro-market themes. I guess it was my moderate capitalist ideas and my interest in science which set me up to be receptive.

Now, I knew some stuff about AR's philosophy, but not an awful lot. But when I read Atlas Shrugged, I was blown away. It definitely altered the way I thought about life. It gave me something I'd always been searching for - a reason. I'd had reasons for what I believed, but a lot of them were only given validation with religion - something that I'd never been completely comfortable with. And then this book showed me a provable, definable, understandable explanation for what's right and wrong, for why things are what they are and what they can be, an explanation and a way to explain everything out there. That's why I agree with objectivism - it's provable, definable, and definite.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Why do you say it's ironic? I guess it depends on who you got the card from...

It's the whole "Objectivism is for capitalism and selfishness, which means giving or receiving gifts is somehow wrong" thing. I can top that, though. Back when I was in college, there was an Objectivist club and a socialist club. Both had literature. The Objectivists gave theirs away free; the socialists sold theirs.

Edited by khaight
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I have always had the 'different' kind of thinking process. Met my boyfriend who was like me, and met my best friend who was like me and had read Ayn Rand. Read Ayn Rand. Realized what I was missing from my life was a sense of, I guess, life. Decided to try it out. Trying it out I realized how hard it is, but at the same time how much easier and happier it makes me. Tried to look for something that negated anything said by Objetivism or Rand. So far, I have not found any contradictions. As a result, I am a happy objectivist. Well, i guess you could argue if there are any unhappy objectivists. B)

Neha

Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually stumbled upon Objectivism through reading David Boaz's book on Libertarianism, and reading Michael Shermer's book The Science of Good and Evil I also enjoyed watching Penn & Teller's show BS and over and over Ayn's name kept coming up. I went to the ARI website and started reading articles, I got a copy of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and read the essentials section and I found that I agreed with all of it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...