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OAC statement of purpose

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I'm interested in some feedback on this, my statement of purpose for application to the Objectivist Academic Centre. It's not finished, so the end is not intended to be a conclusion. Tips, pointers, advice, all welcome.

Emily Dickinson wrote that "the brain is wider than

the sky", referring to its ability to engage the

broadest abstraction and the most minuscule concrete.

The mechanism of this, the most marvelous machine in

the universe, has remained entirely unclear until

very recently in human history -- and even now, the

veil is only beginning to be lifted. The nature of

the human brain and the human mind in turn is the key

to unlocking both our own natures, allowing humans to

reach the fullest heights of our potential, and the

nature of intelligence itself, allowing us to build

better machines which can accomplish more for human

ends. The field of cognitive science, as an

interdisciplinary field combining philosophy and

psychology, is the root of all answers to the problem

of how to live on Earth. An objective knowledge of

what human beings are and how they must live is

necessary to determining how those goals must be

accomplished. It is with this fervent belief that I

have chosen to make cognitive science my subject of

study in university, and pursue a career in writing

and research in this area.

The mind is the end to which all actions aim, whether

that aim is creation or destruction. A human can

choose actions that strengthen, train and nurture his

or her mind or she can choose actions that degrade

and malnourish her mind -- it is a strict dichotomy:

one cannot avoid one outcome or the other. Having a

mind is like the Red Queen's race, in which one must

run to stay in place. Without constant production,

discipline and effort, the brain stagnates and fails.

I choose to run. I choose creation, and I choose to

fight to rescue the mind from those who would deny

its existence, cripple its functioning or diminish

its importance, whether in religion and mysticism, in

the scheme of "behavioural economics," or in

environmentalist nihilism. The ideas of Ayn Rand and

her intellectual heirs are the only rational means

available to conquer the fear, darkness and

uncertainty of mind-denial and flood it with the

light of consciousness.

The OAC will be the education I never had, and may

never otherwise have due to my attendance in public

schools and a fully collectivist-altruist university.

I am paying for a degree to learn the tools of my

trade, to learn how experts in this field think so

that I can separate the wheat from the chaff -- but

to learn the task of separating wheat from chaff, I

require instruction that no university I know of can


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Another member expressed reservations about this line in the chat room, too. I now understand that I phrased it poorly. Although the mind evolved to sustain the body, I believe that we use the body to sustain the mind, because the self is per se the mind. I don't think this is the mind/body dichotomy: a disembodied mind is contextless and impossible, and the mind and body are not in opposition. The body is a tool of the mind. I am my mind and my mind is me, but the same is not true of my body. I am just as much myself if I lose my arm, but not if I lose one of my cognitive faculties. FYI I have no idea what Ayn Rand had to say about this, if anything, so please feel free to introduce some quotes on the subject.

Would "The self is the end to which all actions aim" be sufficient?

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