Sunday, February 15, 2009

Some Benefits of Objectivism for Me

I have decided to occasionally post on how the philosophy of Objectivism by Ayn Rand has improved my life and provided a certain peace of mind. This is not meant to be an in-depth analysis of philosophic principles, but only a brief mention of how some of them have helped me personally.

Perhaps the biggest thing it did was give me a complete, wholly integrated view of existence and my place in it as a human being. Everyone needs an overall view of reality. For most people, including me, this was provided by religion. But for me, religion left too many things that didn't make sense.

One of these was the idea of the unknowable, that which cannot be known. Now I had been raised Catholic and attended a catholic school. Some of the teachings were that god, heaven, hell and things in between were unknowable to us in this world. These and other teachings had to be accepted on faith. We would learn or understand them only when we left this world.

Objectivism taught me that while there is much in the universe that is unknown, there is nothing that is unknowable. The idea that all of existence is knowable and man's mind is capable of understanding any part of it, appealed to me. It made sense. It offered me a world view that was a sensible whole, a frame of reference against which I could clearly see my relationship to it.

Religion offered a world view that had too many unknowables. It was a frame of reference against which I could not clearly know my place in it. How can a person identify relationships between himself and things that are unknowable, i.e. can't be identified? Obviously one can't. To me its like a house with holes in it, but holes that cannot be patched, but which one can understand the why of this only when one steps out of the house and no longer needs it. This I rejected after I learned of Objectivism.

For me, there is a peace of mind that comes with knowing my place in reality rather than having to believe in one on faith. In fact this will be the subject of my next post: the difference between knowing something to be true and believing something on faith and why the former is much more satisfying.

So, benefit #1: no more unknowables.
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