Reason as the Leading Motive

Year-end Musings

Posted by Jerry on December 30, 2005

Well, we are at the cusp of a brand new year, and I’m thinking — how different am I at the end of this year from what I was at the beginning? I’m not sure I can say that I have changed. Or maybe, that is up to the people around me who know me, to say whether or not I have changed. But, I don’t believe that I have.

What has changed, quite dramatically at times, is the environment around me – that includes, people, places, events, etc.

For example: I moved apartments, I switched jobs, I switched boyfriends once (then switched again, and then again! ;-)) — and while the argument could be made that those events have invariably also changed who I innately am, it does not seem apparent enough to me. I feel I am essentially the same person I have been for quite a while.

The most dramatic changes of the innate person that I am came about, I believe, when I switched from Catholicism to Judaism… and then to Islam… and then to Vedic Hindusim, and then to Buddhism… and then back to protestant Christianity… and then, finally in my sophomore year in College, I settled irreversibly upon Atheism! 🙂

After embracing atheism very excitedly, I discovered Objectivism and Rand. (I had only read “The Fountainhead” until that time, but did not think of Rand as a philosopher – only as a novelist. I was not really keen on Objectivism, yet).

So how did I manage to stumble upon Objectivism? Ironically, it was through one of the gay “Randroids” I had come across in college. I fully despised his attitude and demeanor – and I knew that he had read Rand’s other novel, “Atlas Shrugged“. He and I had diametrically opposed interpretations of Rand’s heroic characters. For some reason, this guy tried in his personality to emulate those characters literally – and my only response to that was “Yuck!”

Anyway, the point was that, partly because I wanted to understand his psychology better, and partly because I was curiously fascinated by the strong influence Rand had on this person, I decided to buy the other novel – Atlas Shrugged, and study it. It took me about … oh, let’s say… definitely more than six months to complete that book — much of it had to do with the fact that it was somewhere about 1000 pages long, and each page was loaded with a 1000 megaton of philosophical ideas!

Well, so that was the beginning of another major change in my life. Ever since then, I have developed a deep and dedicated devotion to ideas, philosophy, and moral purpose. I think have managed to remain scrupulous in the kinds of ideas I accept and/or reject – and have steered clear of any blind-faith influence or beliefs. And until now, I assume also going forward into the future, I have constantly adapted and adjusted my positions on a few moral and/or personal issues that were not of any majorly important scale — for example, I changed my position from animal rights and vegetarianism to rights as applicable only to humans. I changed from the idea that monogamy was the only moral state of a love relationship, to the understanding that morality of any relationship derives from the morality of the individuals involved – not inspite of them or outside of them.

Beyond that, I suppose there weren’t anything else that influenced a change in me in any important way.

And so, here I am. A very different person in some respects, and yet, still the very same person I was at the beginning of this year. I am certain of this fact, though, that if (when) I go back to India and meet my friends and family, they will find a fully and unrecognizably different person – would they take it in stride? I don’t know. Would they respond to me differently? Most certainly yes. Will we still be friends? Don’t know.


2 Responses to “Year-end Musings”

  1. Semperviva said

    When did u become jewish? how old were u at that time i mean

  2. Ergo Sum said

    Well, I never “became” jewish.. I only went through a phase where, after reading some Jewish authors… and knowing what I knew about Judaism… I thought, okay, this makes more sense to me… so I accepted Judaism.
    Same with all the other ones. There were never any “christening” ceremonies for any of them…well, except for the Catholicism part… that’s cuz I was born into it.

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