Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ayn Rand

I've had a problem with Ayn Rand for years. My first knowledge of her and her objectivist philosophy was an argument I had at summer camp. This was back in the days when I was very into the Anarchist ideal of a world without government, and while that should predispose someone towards objectivism, I argued bitterly against it. And lost, because I clung to ideals that I couldn't really justify, and because I had absolutely no knowledge of what I was arguing against.

I'd never done anything to follow up, just conceded my points and said that I still didn't understand this worshiping of the ego.

I've now found The Fountainhead thrust into my hands, and have finally gotten around to investigating this whole philosophy. The merit of the philosophy is there - do what you want to do, because if you aren't self-fulfilled in the way that your life is lived, you are wasting your life.
So, it isn't being selfish that's good, so much as it is doing things one wants to do. Which is like being selfish, but less distasteful.

There is no problem with working in a fulfilling way, rather than giving up ones passion for the conventions of society, and the wishes of others. Ayn Rand just doesn't believe that anyone can derive any benefit from altruistic work. Her philosophy is a fundamentalism, and so is flawed as as fundamentalisms are, by exclusion of other possibilities.

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