THE LIFE AND GENIUS OF AYN RAND
OBJECTIVISM, THE PHILOSOPHY OF AYN RAND - FOR EVERYONE
Ayn Rand formulated a philosophy that she called Objectivism, and by the nature of that term she discovered and put that WHOLE in a form, that I can say at the very outset is TRUE.
Now this itself could bug somebody. He would think, who is she to tell and declare that this is the "final" truth?
And here the interesting thing is that her philosophy by its very nature answers this question too!!
So let us begin...at the beginning.
We live in a world, and she said and affirmed this world's existence. This might seem silly to many. The world exists, what is there to affirm in that. And that is the point she really made. Yes, this world exists, and only this world, because if you posit another world "beyond" this world, you would go into a void!!
So this world is all there is..and we are specific entities, with a consciousness that has a sensory apparatus, that can SEE, HEAR, TASTE, SMELL and TOUCH.
But we also have a wondrous and specific ability--to form words or as she called CONCEPTS. You see a table and another and another, and you have an ability here to arrive at the word(concept) - table...
The word TABLE refers to any and every table, otherwise the word /concept would be meaningless. That is all that she said, and any one who can speak cannot really disagree on such an elementary thing!!
So we have a whole language, and of course a grammar that covers all situations, we know how to form sentences and think/communicate.
Then what is knowledge?
Here I think, she made a deep, unique almost a new kind of contribution. Most of us think of reason and logic as piece meal. But she looked at LOGIC and REASON very profoundly as
AN INTERCONNECTED, INTEGRATED GRASP OF THE WORLD.
This is not as simple as it looks. There are some issues here. What she said was that knowledge at any time is a SUM< even for a child. And you can claim it as valid knowledge only if one part of the seeming whole does not contradict any other part!! Thus she defined Logic as a non contradictory identification of the whole sum that you are holding at present.
The key word here, is the FULL context of your knowledge at present...is it a correct whole? If one part does not contradict another part, then, yes. So errors are allowed for some time, for the person to go through a process of THINKING, and relating and to arrive at his whole.
So it was in this way that all science is both absolute and contextual. It is not as if what Newton had discovered is not the truth, it is and it was. But later dicoveries EXPANDED THE CONTEXT...!!
Then in ethics, she looked at MAN. What does he need to LIVE well? But then to live well, is the context for a MORALITY in the first place. So morality cannot be RULES.
If what you are doing benefits you, it is GOOD...if it harms you, it is bad. Thus the ideal is the practical!!
But do you need to live for others...?
No she said, because by nature each man is literally alone!!
He needs others of course but HE needs them!!
So each person incredibly should live for himself not sacrifice himself for others or others to himself.
So morality of living for others she rejected as beyond any context of anything!!
She defined living for others not as a wrong morality but as NO MORALITY!!
How do people live together? They should preserve the individual, and here the concept of rights come in naturally. So each lives with right to his life, property and freedom to work, and produce and hold property. That system is full capitalism.
This is the whole she gave,and if you notice this whole is dependent of acceptance of reality, and the deep way she defined reason.
Of course people debate these issues, and to my mind,they debate because they DO NOT THINK IN FUNDAMENTALS.
FOR EXAMPLE THE SILLIEST DEBATE AMONG 2 CAMPS OF OBJECTIVISTS IS WHETHER THIS PHILOSOPHY IS CLOSED/OPEN.
NOW WHEN THEY DEBATE, THEY DO NOT DEFINE WHAT IS THE WORD CLOSE/OPEN. AGAIN THEY FOLLOW THE NON FUNDAMENTAL APPROACH. TRUTH IS CLOSED IF BY CLOSE YOU MEAN IT IS TRUE!!
Again existence exists. It is, so it is closed. Reason in the way I explained above is the way we hold / use knowledge. If it is true, it is true. So it is closed.
In ethics, we have silly debates that Rand was against charity and helping others. Was she? By the philosophy explained above she said, YOU are the end, to which the values should be directed.
Every human in the world to me, is an "objectivist" but it is precisely being NON ABSOLUTE about it that creates problems for each individual. Rand gave me certainty, simplicity and depth all at once!! And what else is needed for serenity and deep happiness...