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Ex-Commie

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Hey there.

 

Title says most of it; I used to be pretty left-leaning, but there were always a few doubts just as to what "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" meant. I recently read The Fountainhead and am finishing up Atlas Shrugged, and was drawn to the prior due to the disdain with which my friends handled it.

 

As with my previous beliefs, there seem to be a few dark areas that I'd like cleared up by talking to other people. Rand's characters seem to embody ideals more than represent actual people, so I'm having trouble imagining how to reach that perfect ideal character.

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Hi NeuEv,

 

You are likely to spend the better part of a decade thinking through issues. Concerning Rands characters, you need not worry about reaching some ideal. Just live for yourself and find the greatest expression of your own virtues. Her characters represent logical extremes of moral choices. What dark areas would you like to discuss?

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You are likely to spend the better part of a decade thinking through issues. Concerning Rands characters, you need not worry about reaching some ideal. Just live for yourself and find the greatest expression of your own virtues. Her characters represent logical extremes of moral choices. What dark areas would you like to discuss?

I'm quoting you aleph, but I'm mainly talking to NeuEv in my post.

 

The ideal isn't being Rearden, Galt, Roark, Dagny, etc. The ideal is more like a principle to strive towards, not a person to become. Her characters aren't just logical extremes, but that we should all live to attain such extremes of virtue. If they represent logical extremes, they represent exactly what is so admirable about being a virtuous person. Being moral isn't a matter of being virtuous "enough", but being wholly virtuous.

 

Live for yourself and your values, as long as you don't forget anyone can be as virtuous. Not that you need to lead the same career or personality, though. The characters are pretty realistic I find, as in they're not "beyond" human. Yes, they represent ideals, yet the ideals they represent aren't an unreachable divine standard. Perhaps you are misinterpreting some aspects of the characters (e.g. being rich like Dagny) as part of the ideal?

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Hello and welcome. :) As far as goals and standards for morality go, here's a relevant quote from the end of Playboy's interview of Rand: "And if you ask me, what is greatness? -- I will answer, it is the capacity to live by the three fundamental values of John Galt: reason, purpose, self esteem. " You don't need to run a railroad or be an architect to live up to the standards of Objectivism.

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Thanks all for the welcome!

 

Your posts, as well as some discussion in the chat have clarified some of the issues I mentioned. I look forward to trying to further apply reason, purpose, and self-esteem in my life.

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