Sunday, December 19, 2004

Objectivist's mind's eye

You know almost a year ago I denounced my ex, the objectivist who peed sitting down as a self-serving and hopeless idiot. I am not ashamed to admit that I am the kind of woman who takes things personally and is influenced highly by her impressions of people or how their actions impact me. I've come to admit that this is who I am and I'm no longer embarrassed by this. I am trying not to let my personal feelings affect my understanding or learning about things. I'm getting better at it, it just like graduating from wishing that things would go on forever to accepting that all things end. Not taking things too personally as I've learned is a skill that you pick up after you've become calloused with some experience.

Just because in my twenties I ran into one ridiculous testosterone driven and self-absorbed man-boy after another who insisted on the virtues of objectivism, I discounted Ayn Rand's work. At the time, and though I'm not thoroughly unconvinced of this notion, I thought that most of these men, including my ex, used the whole philosophy of objectivism to justify their desire to have a threesome that included their girlfriend... or simply justify their need to sleep with other women. After watching Ayn Rand's interview with Phil Donohue, I understood that most of the people I had encountered (who claimed to be objectivists) used Rand's philosophy to justify their selfish actions or defend their stance. They sort of missed much of Rand's own personal message in her life and work, which was to live to one's very best, and that it was necessary to protect an individual's right and freedom to do so.

Of course I could be making a judgement here, but of two of the most rabid so-called objectivists I knew, one enjoyed doing nothing but playing video games for hours and days on end and the other lived off of unemployement for as long as he could while trying to pick up as many chicks as he could. Part of me feels a little guilty for judging them, but then maybe that's the part of me that cares how people (others/society) think of me.

I can appreciate that Rand felt as strongly as she did about the power and importance of the individual (and the existance of the state to perserve the individual not the individual existence to serve the state), and I may agree that there is reallly no such thing as a completely altruistic act. We need only look at the example of missionaries to see this. However, I don't think that humans as a species got as far as they did without engaging in some sense of community and sharing. This was necessary for their survival. Even a mother's affection and bond with her child can be seen as a necessity for the preservation of her genes. Though the so called altruism of sacrificing for your children isn't really altruistic but indicative of the desire to have them and therefore yourself succeed.

Society and community are webs held together with strands of dependence. Communities are organisms in themselves we are the unwitting cells and tissue that make up the organs of certain communities and groups. But you might argue from an objectvist postion that they come together in order to insure the selfish goal of survival or self-preservation. If you take the earliest multi-celled life forms as a metaphor. They most likely evolved from single-celled creatures living together in community because their chances of survival were amplified by living communally.

We can assume that any organism's primary goal is to survive and thrive. If this means growing or encompassing more individuals, then such a social organism will seek with whatever means necessary to achieve dominance. I see this at work everyday with the company objectives being shoved down my electronic pie-hole. The company is growing elsewhere, but it's allowing it's more worn parts to atrophy and fall off. In some cases it's actively severing limbs.

I do think that at some point Malthusian Law will take over.

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