Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Embracing Reason

Posted by Jerry on May 28, 2007

Myrhaf has a post on his discovery of Ayn Rand and Objectivism around 30 years ago, and his views on how this philosophy of reason has been the leading motive of his life. Here are some excerpts, but read his entire post because it is very interesting.

I was told that Rand was just a phase intelligent young people go through and once I got older I would see that life is not like it is in her novels. One teacher told me to come back and talk to her when I was 25. It was most unsettling to hear the people I had loved and respected most saying things like, “There are no absolutes” and “Life is not black and white” and “You have to compromise to get along in society” and “How can you know for sure? How can anyone know anything for sure?” After Atlas Shrugged I never looked at those people quite the same again.

I got a lot of sneers, smears and half-formed dismissals of Rand, but never a logical refutation of her ideas.

Discovering Objectivism was a thrilling intellectual odyssey because I learned that ideas are important and that intellectual premises actually move the world. The realization that philosophy was of life and death importance was like a portal to the vast universe of ideas. Before Atlas Shrugged I had been satisfied with comic books; after it, I was reading Peikoff, Mises, Aristotle, Hazlitt, Bastiat, Marx, Nietzsche, Menger, Gibbon, Windleband, Durant and so many others. Suddenly I was interested in philosophy, politics, history and economics. My higher education began in September of 1977.

The idea that ideas are important and have consequences is a like a secret potion Objectivists drink that makes them smarter than most other people. Really, how much sustained interest in ideas can a linguistic analyst or postmodernist have, when he believes that philosophy is an ivory tower game detached from day to day living? Modern philosophy does not motivate people to pursue knowledge. Modern philosophy turns ideas into an elaborate game in which one learns the right techniques designed not to discover knowledge of reality, but to impress one’s colleagues who also play the game. Life becomes compartmentalized: there’s modern philosophy and the world of ideas in one box, and the real world, family, friends, job, movies, oil changes and stubbed toes in another box. Objectivism shows how ideas and daily life are very much in the one big, fascinating box that is the world.

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3 Responses to “Embracing Reason”

  1. Charlotte said

    I read Myrhaf’s article. So much to identify with :)!

    Finished the first read of Atlas Shrugged yesterday. Many more to come 🙂 Im sure you’ve forgotten you gifted it to me—thanks much!

  2. Myrhaf said

    Thanks for linking, Ergo! I’m gratified that so many Objectivists think, “My, that sounds familiar.” It seems we all go through something of the same process.

  3. Ergo said

    Charlotte,

    I’m shocked at how rapidly you finished reading that behemoth of a book! But yea, a more careful reading is required if you intend to glean some philosophy of out it. Hope you enjoy the whole experience–mentally and emotionally.

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