One late afternoon in June, I arrived home from work, my last day on the job. The company had just fired me. The boss told me they needed team players and couldn’t tolerate the anti-social stuff I spouted off too often. He said “Get your belongings together, visit human services for your final check and get out. It wasn’t the first time somebody fired me. From past experience, I should have considered the ending the start of a new journey.
As I sat in in my recliner I wondered what I was going to do. The rejection hurt. Living by my highest values seemed to bring me pain and suffering…although I felt some satisfaction sticking to them. So, I did what every good objectivist doesn’t do. I lit up a joint. Maybe getting high would cheer me up…and it did at least temporarily.
Before the Crisis
I built a solid foundation by mastering the books “Human Action” and “Atlas Shrugged”, eventually reading all the works of Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand. The eternal seeker of logic and reason needs to read these great works more than once. I studied them many times and embraced the concepts and ideas. I remain astounded by the insights and revelations I received from these masters of reason and individualism.
Harry Browne’s “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” and Robert Ringer’s “Looking Out For #1” taught me certain principles for living everyday life. With the foundation of Mises and Rand firmly in place, I received many benefits from these two books.
Here’s a quote from Browne’s classic book that reinforced my belief in rational selfishness. “When someone accuses you of being selfish, just remember that he’s upset only because you aren’t doing what he selfishly wants you to do.”
Ringer developed important theories concerning self-interest. Here’s one called the “Theory of Reality.” Reality is neither the way you wish things to be nor the way they appear to be, but the way they actually are. Either you acknowledge reality and use it to your benefit or it will automatically work against you.”
Unfortunately, learning at an early age is only potentiality. Since I was still in my 20’s, I lacked the necessary life experiences to receive the full benefits from these teachings of personal liberty and freedom. Fortunately, I returned to them time after time, capturing new lessons of life.
Nathaniel Branden was the architect of Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. He used his marketing skills to popularize this controversial, but logical way of life. In addition, he wrote “The Psychology of Self-Esteem.” The individual can use objectivist principles along with an understanding of human action to discover the only person who can give him or her self-esteem. Of course, only you can give yourself this life-enhancing gift. Some consider Branden the father of the self-esteem movement, a label he rightfully deserves. I consider it a sad fact that Branden and Rand parted on such unfriendly terms.
Branden continued to hone his understanding of human nature. He developed effective techniques for eliminating neurosis and a lack of self-worth. He will help you discover the most important person in the world. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you who that is.
A satisfying moment for me was the day I came across Murray Rothbard, a student of Ludwig von Mises. Now here’s one of the greatest economists of all time. He wrote “Man, Economy and State” a comprehensive treatise on economics. There is no doubt about Rothbard being a pure libertarian. He also blessed us with other classics that include “America’s Great Depression” and “For a New Liberty – A Libertarian Manifesto.” He reasons impeccably from praxeological insights.
Rothbard presents an alternative to a strictly limited government, anarcho-capitalism. I could now consider several possible libertarian social systems. Getting rid of governments seems like an attractive solution. However, can a society survive without a governmental agency to protect an individual’s life, liberty and property?
Two other great economists who influenced me were Friedrich A. Hayek and Henry Hazlitt. Hayek’s most influential book is “The Road to Serfdom.” This book shook up many socialists and government planners, rightfully so. Oppression of the masses, requires a totalitarian government run by the elite. Of course, every social planner expects to be an honored member of the establishment. That’s a journey I can do without.
In addition, Hayek wrote other revealing books including the classics “The Constitution of Liberty” and “Individualism and Economic Order.”
Henry Hazlitt was a superb writer. He was also a close friend of Ludwig von Mises. ”Economics in One Lesson” is probably the best introduction to sound economic reasoning on the planet. Hazlitt also penned a brilliant critique of Keynesian economics “The Failure of the New Economics.” Some might state that Hazlitt wasn’t an economist, but obviously, he far outdistances any Keynesian “economist.”
Incidentally, the above economists are members of the brilliant Austrian School of Economics. I will always consider sound economic reasoning one of the marvelous gifts of life. Of course, I will always treasure the gift of Objectivism.
Despite the above teachings, I felt I was missing several pieces of the puzzle. My relationships weren’t exactly fulfilling and my job didn’t please me, which affected my self-esteem and self-worth. Maybe, I was only fooling myself and was already a Reluctant Objectivist.
I didn’t know at the time that a crisis can lead to a new journey.
The Next Morning
Sometimes a person just feels like escaping reality. I’ve tried various ways to accomplish this, but nothing seems to work. Reason and logic always comes to the rescue, sometimes a little too late. Anyway, I woke up with a clear mind.
I decide to get up, visit downtown Cincinnati and go to the Public Library. That day I made an unexpected discovery that helped me expand my horizons and begin a new journey.
Once inside the library, I wandered over to the self-help section. As you can see, I was quite desperate. Suddenly my eyes came to two books by an author someone had told me about. At the time, I dismissed him as not being an objectivist.
In front of me on the shelf were 2 books by Wayne Dyer.
- Your Erroneous Zones
- Pulling Your Own Strings
I checked them out and began a journey towards self-actualization…one that lasted much longer than expected. Still, I was a long way from becoming the Reluctant Objectivist.
RA Meyer – Master the Social Maze