After a rough day at the office, I walked into my apartment, turned on the TV and plopped down on the couch. I felt completely demoralized from dealing with irrational people and power-hungry corporate bureaucrats. I sadly concluded that my dedication to logic and reason meant nothing to these reality evaders. Even worse, I would have to deal with them tomorrow. Incredibly, I had no idea I would soon become a Reluctant Objectivist.
My spirit was so low, I hoped that maybe a rerun of the Bob Newhart show might cheer me up…but it wasn’t to be. The station pre-empted it with a telemarketing, motivational show. I didn’t possess the energy to change the channel, which turned out to be quite fortunate. What I saw changed the direction of my life. It even caused me to question the philosophy of Objectivism.
The Reluctant Objectivist
How many men and women discover Ayn Rand and the teachings of Objectivism only to veer off the path, indulging in something quite alien to the advocates of logic and reason. Well, it happened to me. I became a Reluctant Objectivist.
You might wonder what I mean by reluctant. Well, no matter what philosophy of life I investigated and attempted to practice, I could never abandon the foundation of individualism, logic and reason. It’s almost like you would have to go completely irrational to deny the teachings of Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises. You can imagine the problem involved in attempting to integrate teachings contrary to Objectivism. Believe it or not, I tried time after time.
Questioning Objectivism, Meeting People with Different Beliefs
One major advantage of my trek through the world of illusion was the interesting men and women I met. I became especially fascinated with some of the women who were immersed in metaphysical teachings. I guess hardcore objectivists would claim I have psycho-epistemological problems…and maybe I do. I must state that many of my experiences were unforgettable…although I would like to forget some of them. Anyway, you will meet some of the people I interacted with…although I will change the names to protect their identity.
Two books caused me to question my objectivist principles.
Apparently, even leading objectivists allowed their emotions to overcome their reasoning ability. All the problems Rand and the Brandens suffered through convinced me to seek other avenues of realization. Since I loved Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead I couldn’t completely jump ship. I became the Reluctant Objectivist.
I remember dating a gorgeous lady, who was involved in a religious practice I will tell you about in another article. A friend of hers asked me what my favorite book was. I said “Atlas Shrugged.” She said “That horrible book.” Then she walked away. My girlfriend said “I don’t understand how you can read A Course in Miracles and still like those Ayn Rand books.
A few of my rational friends accused me of selling out my principles in order to enjoy the fruits of good looking women. I said “I think with my head…not another part of my anatomy.” My best friend Jorge said “Yeah sure. By time those women are done with you, your brain will have turned to mush.”
As much as I love women, I also love economics, philosophy, metaphysics and psychology. The mindless existence doesn’t appeal to me, although in retrospect I came across some brainless activities. That definitely reinforced my status as the Reluctant Objectivist.
Influence of Objectivism
One reason Objectivist principles seem to have so little influence on most people has to do with the way it’s presented. Hardcore defenders of this marvelous philosophy of life come off as intolerant and unforgiving. You either accept Rand’s teachings in their entirety or you’re out. That’s more rigid than fundamental Christian dogma.
In order to eliminate confusion about the term selfishness, I decided to distinguish the difference between rational selfishness and irrational selfishness. I took a lot of heat on that. Apparently, a good objectivist doesn’t place the word irrational in front of selfishness.
I’m pretty active on Twitter. I notice that many people despise Ayn Rand and Objectivism. They say horrible things about her and her philosophy of life. I tried to defend her. I doubt if my efforts accomplished anything. Maybe there’s another way to get through to men and women who could benefit from logic, reason and individualism.
My journey through numerous metaphysical systems gave me the understanding of how its advocates think and feel. We just can’t put them down, then dismiss them. We have to emphasize with them. Before I discovered Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises I believed all kinds crazy stuff. In fact, without their marvelous teachings, I would probably live as a hopeless mystic. Becoming the Reluctant Objectivist would have been out of the question.
My sales career taught me something I had a hard time accepting. People buy from emotion, then justify their purchase. with logic. This seems like a contradiction since it takes reason to successfully achieve your goals and desires…but that’s the way it is. That means if we’re going to convince men and women of the efficacy of reason, we will have to appeal to their emotions. We just can’t beat them over the head with Objectivism.
Tales from the Reluctant Objectivist will tell someone “Yes, I have been there. I understand where you’re coming from.”
Let’s say you meet someone who is at 0% on the Objectivist Ladder of Success. After your interactions with them, they have climbed up to 20%. That’s progress. After all, every little bit counts. And that’s my purpose, to help men and women move on up and discover the power of individualism, reason and logic.
RA Meyer – Master the Social Maze