Objectivism is a philosophy founded by novelist, Ayn Rand. It is both widely praised and criticized, vastly bend and twisted. Its basic concepts, however, remain just and clear in terms of existence, reason, love, religion, and politics. Existence Objectivism is based on conscious reality. “I exist, therefore I am,” is a line of horse manure. Some people are unconscious in a vegetative state- they cannot think, yet they exist.
Existence exists, and we are conscious of it. We perceive that which exists. Furthermore, a human exists because of her or his choice to live and to make this choice he must hold three ruling values in their life: Reason: Our singular knowledge, and how we acquire knowledge. Purpose: Her or his choice of happiness, reason for existing. Self-Esteem: Belief that he or she as a thinking person is worthy of life. Reason From an objectivist point of view, one should not give love to an undeserving being nor ask for love undeserving to ones self. A persons own life, and own happiness is the ultimate goal.
Objectivism believes one should do what is in their own rational self-interest, in any situation whether it be work, leisure, relationships, or education. What is implied by rational is within means; youre not doing to go murder, rob or rape someone because you would benefit for harming another. Self-sacrificing values are tools in which one uses, in which to prove his or herself. No action goes without a selfish goal, and if indeed a person chooses to conduct a selfless action, which in turn puts them in an undesirable state, (if ones sacrifice leaves them shorthanded) then that action is immoral and irrational. For example: If your friend needs a kidney and you want to be the donor, you are doing so because you selfishly care about that other person’s existence- you want your friend to be healthy and living so that they may stay in your life. On the flipside, if it is a stranger who needs one of your kidneys, the danger of undergoing an operation and putting yourself at risk may not prove to be beneficial, unless the thought of knowing a stranger is walking around with your kidney will better you. What if this is the case and selflessness is indeed a desirable state for a person?
What if the comfortable norm for a being is to indeed feel satisfied at being short-handed in turn for the comfort of another? Does that mean that this person is lacking something? I would theorize that an objectivists argument would argue that any person under this circumstance is actually working off of selfish action to obtain a subconsciously desirable state. Love This view of relationships on a friend level helps us understand the objective view of love: Love is selfish. In her book, The Fountainhead, Rand states, “To say I love you, one must first know how to say the I.” (p. 388, paperback edition.) In objectivism, we learn that love is a value we obtain from others. “In giving love, we are responding to our own values realized and made beautiful by another person. In receiving love, we receive a kind of reward for the virtues, habits, and qualities we have cultivated in our own characters love is actually our response to those few people we meet towards whom we feel the highest respect, admiration, and attraction.” Love is not blind nor is it deaf or dumb.
We fall in love for specific reasons, we do not place the value of anothers life over our own unless we see their life as an equal to our own an essentially see anothers strengths and virtues in equality as well. Modern-day society seems to contend that love is supposed to fall into our laps as if out of some strange fairy tale weve become akin to as children, but in fact, true love, true partnership (such as in Rands terms) are often compared to a business deal. We would die for our lover because our own life would be unbearable without them. Rand argues that there are truly not many of us worthy of love, for not many of us have obtained nor striven for life in all of its limitlessness. Politics An objectivist society calls for limited government of three main functions: police, court, and military. Individual rights are protected, man is protected against direct (ex. murder) and indirect force (ex.
fraud) and there are no “victimless crimes.” “Understanding is not produced by a punch in the face; intellectual clarity does not flow from the muzzle of a gun; the weighing of evidence is not mediated by spasms of terror. The mind is a cognitive faculty; it cannot achieve knowledge or conviction apart from or against its perception of reality; it cannot be forced.” -Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. Any self-destructive act such as drinking or doing drugs is a lifestyle of ones own personal choice and should not be altered with against one’s will. Objectivism promotes Laissez-faire capitalism: the system as a free and voluntary exchange of goods and condemns welfare as a furrowed leaf of a socialistic society. Religion Faith is not based on evidence and therefore is irrational. The belief in the supernatural is not upheld in an objectivist point of view, which holds reason as an absolute. Reality is of the senses and thus to be a religious being would contradict this view of rational reality. Through the years, objectivism has been both upheld and praised, and put down and criticized. It is said to fail The Prisoners Dilemma and reject negatives but this is not to say that it does not have very positive attributes which are applicable in society today. These things make objectivism worth examining on both moral and political standpoints.