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I'm 28 and from the UK. I was into Objectivism years ago but drifted away for reasons I can't quite remember - probably not good ones! My interest has been rekindled because I'm looking into virtue ethics and because I'm struggling with finding a purpose in life, and Objectivism has interesting things to say on  these issues. I'm examining the problems having a bad philosophy has had for me and how Oism could potentially help.

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Welcome to the forum.

 

If you could sum up what you personally have figured out so far on the subject of purpose, what would that be?

 

And, what philosophy of yours in particular do you think has been bad, and why?

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Welcome to the forum.

 

 

Thanks.  :) 

 

 

If you could sum up what you personally have figured out so far on the subject of purpose, what would that be?

 

And, what philosophy of yours in particular do you think has been bad, and why?

 

 

To answer your last question first, I was influenced by Rorty and his shoulder-shrugging relativism and disintegration which was bad psychologically,as you can imagine. Also by Epicurus, the Stoics and Buddhism, so I became stagnant because I wasn't achieving anything. As someone once commented, Epicurus's pleasures are more like that of a corpse than of a living person. This all stems from despondency at failing at something which was important to me and going on to working menial jobs.

 

I agree with Rand that a purpose is essential to structure a person's life so I've been looking into a few things with a view to find a central purpose. So far becoming a psychologist is the prime candidate.

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Having a central purpose can be convenient as a way to structure all of your life activities so as not to waste time on things that aren't that important. But, a main purpose is really only for those who are certain about themselves in a few key ways: activities that they enjoy, subjects that they continually find interesting, and worthy potential goals. Some people find and keep a central purpose from a young age, while others change interests and purpose many times into adulthood.

My point is: if you're not settling on a purpose, don't beat yourself up about it. Trying new things is great, and you'll inevitably land on something at some point that warrants the greater part of your time and effort. In the meantime, you've gained some broader perspectives. And if you do find something soon that you wind up sticking with forever, that's good, too. Having a main purpose is sometimes practical, and sometimes premature.

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As someone once commented, Epicurus's pleasures are more like that of a corpse than of a living person. 

That has a ring of truth to it, and yet perhaps one can have one's cake and eat it too! Like many other intellectual dichotomies, perhaps there's a third route through the horns of the dilemma. Perhaps there's a way to strive for an almost unreachable goal, while also enjoying the "simple pleasures" in life.

 

Psychologically, Epicurean ideas encourage acceptance of one's condition, while the Stoics encourage ambition. Philosophically, we know that we do not have to accept everything about our condition: we distinguish between the metaphysical and the man-made. We also can estimate what man-made things can possibly change in our life-times, and what is realistically out of our reach, even at our most ambitious. The trick is to figure out what we will accept even if it is theoretically changeable, and what we will strive to achieve even if it is hard.

 

In a way, purpose amounts to choosing a productive field to which you can then apply ambition, and get the result rewards. 

 

Oh! and, welcome to OO.com

Edited by softwareNerd
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My point is: if you're not settling on a purpose, don't beat yourself up about it. Trying new things is great, and you'll inevitably land on something at some point that warrants the greater part of your time and effort. In the meantime, you've gained some broader perspectives. And if you do find something soon that you wind up sticking with forever, that's good, too. Having a main purpose is sometimes practical, and sometimes premature. 

 

That's an excellent piece of advice, I'll keep it in mind.

 

That has a ring of truth to it, and yet perhaps one can have one's cake and eat it too! Like many other intellectual dichotomies, perhaps there's a third route through the horns of the dilemma. Perhaps there's a way to strive for an almost unreachable goal, while also enjoying the "simple pleasures" in life.

 

Psychologically, Epicurean ideas encourage acceptance of one's condition, while the Stoics encourage ambition. Philosophically, we know that we do not have to accept everything about our condition: we distinguish between the metaphysical and the man-made. We also can estimate what man-made things can possibly change in our life-times, and what is realistically out of our reach, even at our most ambitious. The trick is to figure out what we will accept even if it is theoretically changeable, and what we will strive to achieve even if it is hard.

 

 

I agree. I was looking for a middle ground between the laxity of Epicureanism and the severity of Stoicism when I realised that I'd already come across a philosophy which fits the bill: Objectivism. Thanks for reminding me of the metaphysical/man-made distinction, it will help me move away from Stoic resignation.

 

Oh! and, welcome to OO.com

 

 

Thank you!

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Welcome to this forum.

 

You've already met some of the best this forum has to offer.  I represent a different perspective.

 

Have you read Philosophy, Who Needs It?

 

Thank you.

 

I read it many years ago when I doubt that I fully appreciated it or Rand's other works. A mass re-read is in order!

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It presents a wonderful approach to the study of philosophy in general and hers in particular.  There are also many recordings available of her speaking to and engaging audiences on a variety of subjects that provide a wonderful insight to the person behind the philosophy.  I have found a mixture of things I agree and disagree with in this forum, but the thing that I admire most about Ayn Rand was her ability to persuade others to reconsider things that are too often taken for granted.

 

I hope you will enjoy your time here a much as I have.

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It presents a wonderful approach to the study of philosophy in general and hers in particular.  There are also many recordings available of her speaking to and engaging audiences on a variety of subjects that provide a wonderful insight to the person behind the philosophy.  

 

I'll bump it to the top of my reading list based on your recommendation.

 

I have found a mixture of things I agree and disagree with in this forum, but the thing that I admire most about Ayn Rand was her ability to persuade others to reconsider things that are too often taken for granted.

 

I hope you will enjoy your time here a much as I have.

 

 

I can certainly relate to that; rediscovering Objectivism has led me to question entrenched ideas.

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Welcome to the adventure.

 

I suggest you read with an active mind all the basic Objectivist literature, and also get some recordings from http://estore.aynrand.org/. For purpose, I highly recommend 'The Value of Purpose' by Tara Smith from that site. (but that lecture may be beyond you at this stage, it might require more an advanced understanding to grasp it properly.) I also highly recommend Nathaniel Branden's work on self esteem. This stuff goes deep, deeper than you may realize, and it is enormously powerful to improve your experience of life. Whatever philosophical ideas you end up adopting, they are powerful and necessary, it's not about Objectivism per se, but about gaining an accurate understanding of reality on which to base your values, the guidance of your thinking, and the course of your life. :D

Edited by Peter Morris
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