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November 17, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

For a significant part of my high school years, I was quite the Objectivist. I read and reread The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged with near-religious fervor. They were my teenage Bible, Torah, and Koran.

Rand’s philosophy radically changed the way I viewed the world. Before, I was on a crashcourse path towards tree-hugging hippie and hermithood. I believed selflessness to be the highest virtue, but in a town of 95% white Catholic, upper-middle class families, there was little of that. Fueled by the lovely angst that seems to closely follow puberty, I saw only a twisted, corrupt world, and wanted as little to do with it as possible. It was with pride that I told others of my lack of knowledge and interest in politics.

In fact, that attitude hasn’t changed dramatically, and I did not vote in the recent midterm elections. But my reasoning for that was because I knew so little of the candidates, and I also don’t really approve of blind party voting.

And I still hold a somewhat cynical view of the world.

But I digress.

Rand’s novels shattered my self-isolating mindset. I saw, although perhaps not to in as extremely idolized a manner as in those books, the huge potential in the individual. She opened my eyes to a different way of viewing the world, where capitalism and ‘selfishness’ are the highest virtues of human civilization and true corruption resides in communism and the wiping away of individuality.

Suffice to say, among the significant events of my still-short lifespan, discovering Rand is high in the rankings.

That devoutness to Objectiveness passed as I entered the next major stage of my life: college. I’ve started to mellow a little, finding a balance between those two opposing forces. It is too easy, following either perspective, to become either wholly jaded or pessimistic. And Rand’s world is too black and white to be realistic.

We are what we are. All susceptible to hope, temptation, folly, and sometimes disastrous mistakes.

I have always known of my naivete and easy trust. I like to believe the best in others, even knowing full well what others are capable of. It is a very vulnerable position to be in, and yet I secretly hope I don’t lose that muted innocence.

I also hope that does not destroy me when I leave the bubble of secure campus life here.

Categories: life, links, reflection, writing
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