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How Did Objectivism Change Your Life?

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I like to look back often, and consider the changes that has occured within my logic, reasoning, views, life, etc. I find that it helps me identify what is going on, where it's going to and how.

Since I found Objectivism and began reading books and articles related to it or ones where Objectivist values and reasoning was used, I've found that I've been transforming my views, which I see as a correction that I decide to make upon seeing a better way, better though process, better idea, goals, etc.

Such changes mean that you think and act differently in the same situation then you did before. So, I'm wondering what changes have you made or experienced since adopting Objectivism?

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I, myself, hasn't noticed any significant differences that I have made in my thinking process as I switch to Objectivism. That said, I'm new to it, and it's possible that I've not noticed or haven't realized the changes. At most, Objectivism has given me concrete reasoning for pursueing things I like to do and structure my thought process and ideas into a better frame where everything is more categorised.

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So, I'm wondering what changes have you made or experienced since adopting Objectivism?

In the past several years (particularly since listening to Peikoff's "Objectivism Through Induction" course), I've found my approach to analyzing ideas and problems has shifted. I'm a lot more concerned with using correct and precise concepts to grasp a problem domain. Time was, if people lumped together things that weren't essentially similar, I'd let it slide. Now I don't, because I know how that kind of conceptual incoherence poisons subsequent thought. I also focus a lot more on the connections between ideas and facts, and not just the connections between ideas and other ideas. When I'm examining a concrete, I always try to identify some general principle of which it is an example; when I'm thinking about a general principle, I always try to identify the facts which gave rise to it. As a result, my thinking is clearer, more precise, more first-handed -- and more effective. I have a much better grasp of *why* my ideas are true, and what the contextual limits of their application are.

This also changes my approach to polemics. Instead of trying to hammer ideas into other people, I focus on identifying the facts which gave rise to the other person's ideas. Then I try to point out either that those facts don't lead to the conclusions they think they do, or point out other facts they haven't considered that are inconsistent with their ideas. This allows for more polite discussion and creates the necessary conditions for intellectually honest people to change their own minds on their own time. I call this process "seeding cognitive dissonance." It's one of my major hobbies. :)

Another change I've noticed is a greater tendency to connect my actions to moral principles explicitly. I'll consider an action, and think "yes, that's just, I'll do it." Internalizing proper principles leads to a tighter integration between my emotions and my conscious convictions. When I was younger, I'd often have desires to do things that intellectually I knew were wrong. But with proper integration of moral principles, those desires have simply faded away. (I remember very clearly the exact moment I really grasped the principle of honesty first-handed and all the way down -- and since that day, I just haven't had any desire to evade unpleasant consequences by lying. That psychological shift was striking in its rapidity, and really drove home for me the nature of emotions as evaluations of situations relative to subconsciously integrated values.) Put in New Age terminology, Objectivism has helped me find inner peace. (Gawd, that sounds so hippy-dippy, and I'm just not that kind of person. But it's true.)

In some sense, all of these changes are really psycho-epistemological. Objectivism not only says that we should guide our actions by reason, it provides a lot of more concrete guidance on *how* to reason properly and *how* to use reason to guide action. The way that concrete guidance manifests itself in an individual's life is through changes in psycho-epistemology.

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Put in New Age terminology, Objectivism has helped me find inner peace. (Gawd, that sounds so hippy-dippy, and I'm just not that kind of person. But it's true.)

I can identify with this feeling as well. It's more accurate to say Objectivism allows one to create an inner peace by means of integration and removing of contradictions.

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I can identify with this feeling as well. It's more accurate to say Objectivism allows one to create an inner peace by means of integration and removing of contradictions.

Yes, that's more accurate. When you internalize a set of values that are consistent with each other and with the requirements of life, your emotions no longer conflict with each other or with the requirements of life. That sense of psychological unity is what I was referring to somewhat flippantly as "inner peace". Your mind is no longer at war with itself, or with the external world.

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Let's see- how I've changed since adoptiong Objectivist ideas (laughs).

To start, I'm just going to note that this is a story more than anything else, about how my life has changed rather than my thoughts or ideals.

I used to be Christian. Not a strong one, mind- I was one of those CE (Christmas & Easter) Christians, mostly because I could not accept the Bible as an historical book, and I had major issues with certain sects of the religion (Catholicism, mostly.) However, I was Christian enough for my boyfriend's parents to allow us to date- his family's Evangelical, and his dad's a pastor. For those who have no idea what Evangelicals believe (at least, these ones in particular) as compared to other Christians, they're the ones who think the Earth is 10,000 years old, there were dinosaurs on the ark, Mary was actually a virgin, etc. In other words, the Bible to the letter. Our religious differences didn't bother us very much- he would never try to 'convert' me unless I wanted to do so myself, and though I continuously tried to convince him that evolution was the way to go, I wouldn't push the subject far. Every other aspect of our relationship was great- we were on the same level intellectually, though he worked harder in school, and we'd been best friends for years before it got serious. We'd dated a couple times before, but it didn't work out and we always went back to being friends. The last time we tried was different- we were more deeply in love, and I was starting to think we would get married.

I had read The Fountainhead before, and I had read Atlas Shrugged before, but neither of them had made a great impact on me (I was young and didn't fully understand what Ayn Rand was saying.) But then I read Atlas Shrugged again.

Suddenly I was an athiest, or agnostic at best. I wanted to continue my relationship with my boyfriend even with this 'setback', because I believed we would be able to work through the religious differences. But as I said, he was a true Evangelist- and there's a sentence in the Bible that says “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Corinthians 6:14) This, of course, says that Christians should not marry non-Christians. It took a week for the man I thought I would marry to decide he could no longer date me.

Seven months later, I am more fully involved with Objectivism, although to claim to be an Objectivist at this stage would be hypocritical, as I'd have to accept many of the ideas contained within it on faith since I have not had time to think through all of them myself yet. But I will no longer attempt to date anyone who believes that sacrifice is a virtue, or anyone who will believe something without proof. Overall, it was definately in my self-interest to read that book- my relationship with my family has also changed, and I am learning to love myself in a way that's been nearly impossible for most of my life.

I'm still best friends with him. I value his company, and he values mine, mostly because we can talk about anything without turning it into an argument. My core values have changed enough that all attraction I had towards him has disappeared entirely, and we're truly just friends. Instead, I have found someone else, a man who's intelligent, funny, ambitious, and shares my highest ideals and moral code. He has been helping me along my path towards Objectivism, understanding when I have relapses and let my emotions affect me without thinking through them. As long as we continue to reason out the things we differ on, as we have been, then we'll probably... well. It's still early to think that way, and he's probably going to read this.

Objectivism has changed who and how I love. Thank God for that! ;)

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I bought a legit copy of Windows. May not sound like much, but it was a fundamental change.
I know what you mean. I used to think I was being fair by using illegal copy for all the "bad" things "big bad" Microsoft does.
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The reason I reacted to Fountainhead so strongly was because Howard Roark had the same view of his highest value (architecture) as I did my music. Everything else was chaotic abstracts for me at the time basically, for lack of a better explanation. I didn't act on other things the same way I acted upon my highest value. I always knew the way I viewed and acted upon my ideals (regarding my music) was right but I was basically lectured and sometimes scorned for it all the time, somewhat like Roark. So when I saw someone glorify my beliefs and explain how you should treat every subject the same way you would your highest value it gave me the push to being rationally selfish. It motivated me even more to know that there was a framework all along that presented my ambition and will to live. There is alot of other background regarding before I even read any Rand. One thing I always find interesting, not necessarily pertaining to Rand, is that I read "Of Human Bondage" before Fountainhead. I connected with this book (although heavy naturalist, which only provides a better example) because it exhibited all my bad qualities. There were alot of aspect of the main charachter that was a mirror reflection of me except that he didn't have any goal in his life. He didn't really have a highest value, and I didn't like the ending either. But then I read Fountainhead which was the opposite side of the spectrum, it exhibited the best within me, unlike a naturalist novel which exhibited the worst. Before I read any Rand, when I was really young, I always felt a connection with the books whenever I would look at them in a bookstore. I went through a phase during 5th grade where I read alot and my dad pushed me to read Anthem, but I didn't think I was ready for it yet. He was a big Rush fan, as am I, and he isn't exactly the ideal man. He actually reminds me of Dr. Robert Stadler. I think there was a part of him that always wanted me to read Rand so I would become selfish, unlike him. So there is alot of history regarding how I was raised and Objectivism, I see things alot clearer ever since I got into it and view life much more benevolently. All I can do is thank Miss Rand the same way the boy on the bike thanked Roark at the beginning of Part 4 in the Fountainhead, she turned on a very bright light for me.

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Well it didn't really change my views all that much (some opinions have changed). What it did make me do was commit to the ones I already had, since they already were individualistic/objectectivist to begin with.

Rand inspired me to stay in my current field of study (which I once hated, but now love with a passion), and helped me get over a rather nasty breakup (I realised she did not share my values, so it was for the better)

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I don't think Objectivism has changed my life very much; I still do most of the things I did before I was an Objectivist, I just think about them differently, but then I was introduced to Objectivism when I was 14 or so, so I've kind of grown up into it . . . it might be more accurate to say that I didn't have a life pre-Objectivism. I smuggled in the occasional break from emptiness, but that was about it. Now, I'm working on turning what used to be breaks into a productive career.

Of course, this probably just means that I still have a long way to go personal-development wise. *sigh*

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Thinking and actions to some degree.

Understanding the difference between earned and unearned guilt. When you earn it to take it, but when it isn't yours, to refuse it. And not to try to put unearned guilt on others.

(I think those that have kids, or who have grown up really religious may understand what I mean. It is something one sometime doesn't even realize one does until pointed out.)

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  • 1 month later...

It hasn't change my life, but it changed my views on it.

I am trying harder now to understand why Objectivism is not appreciated.

So many misconceptions about egoism, and so inflexible positions on religion; I never thought 9/11 possible, until I read "Philosophy, who needs it?", and noticed how Ms. Rand predicted the lack of reason (and reasoning) pushes humans to collectivism, and to sacrifices of others.

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Objectivism allows one to create an inner peace by means of integration and removing of contradictions.

I'll agree with the above. Objectivism has helped in in other ways, too. One way is understanding much more of the world around me, and in finding ways to anticipate and work around others' irrational behavior. Another is in learning to prioritize what's really important to me, and to appreciate my successes based on the pursuit of my own values, not others' recognition or expectations.

Through the above, for the last couple of years I've been almost continuously happy and satisfied. For most of my life prior to this, I'd been a fairly unhappy person.

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Objectivism turned me from a whiny mystic into a productive engineer.

Humorous exaggeration aside, Objectivism helped me become myself more. It catapulted my life forward by saving me years or decades of confusion and intellectual torment. It's the benefit of specialization of labor.

For example, I had figured out the question of the existence of god on my own, without Objectivism, but I don't think I could have figured out the concept of the sanction of the victim on my own. As a result of Objectivism, I ended an unhealthy relationship (where I was a victim by my consent) and am much better off as a result. Without Objectivism, I would have stayed in the relationship much longer, and would not have the moral certainty when I finally would end it.

Edited by xavier
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The two biggest things I gained by Objectivism:

1. Certainty: I always thought my ideas with regard to religion, politics, economics were right. Now I know that I was right to quit church, to rebel against governmental interference and that no matter how much of my money the government hands out it ain't helping the poor. It makes a world of difference.

2. No more guilt: Not much to say on this one. After you realize your only "duty" is to yourself, happiness is much easier to achieve.

Oh, and I bought a legit copy of Windows too :whistle:

mrocktor

Edited by mrocktor
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