To have or not to have…

Recently, I have been thinking about the purpose of my life. Naturally, it’s a topic that everyone will certainly ponder about in some stage of their life. There have been two views presented regarding this topic. 1) There is absolutely no purpose in life and that people just live for the sake of surviving everyday obstacles. It’s not like we really had any choice of being born on this planet. This is kind of a pessimistic approach to life, obviously speaking. 2) Your purpose in life is to serve others. This can be interpreted in any way.

These two views are what I have generally observed among most of the people I have met. Christians obviously believe in serving others. Nihilists are those who belong to group 1. If there are any views at all, I am still not aware of it/them.

So, why worry about our lives at all? Why do we have to think about a purpose for our life here, why bother at all? Why are there so many people around this world, going about finding a purpose for our lives, when maybe none might exist? Or why is it better to have some purpose rather than no purpose at all?

First of all, I believe that everyone should lead a life with a purpose. They might discover it later or earlier in their lives. But it is much better to have clear view of where your life is heading. Ayn Rand says,

“The man without a purpose is a man who drifts at the mercy of random feelings or unidentified urges and is capable of any evil, because he is totally out of control of his own life. In order to be in control of your life, you have to have a purpose — a productive purpose.”…”A central purpose serves to integrate all the other concerns of a man’s life. It establishes the hierarchy, the relative importance, of his values, it saves him from pointless inner conflicts, it permits him to enjoy life on a wide scale and to carry that enjoyment into any area open to his mind; whereas a man without a purpose is lost in chaos. He does not know what his values are. He does not know how to judge. He cannot tell what is or is not important to him, and, therefore, he drifts helplessly at the mercy of any chance stimulus or any whim of the moment. He can enjoy nothing. He spends his life searching for some value which he will never find.” (1964, Playboy Interview

A purpose in life, will direct you in your life. Of course, you can resort to flexibility. You don’t have to be focussed on just one purpose in your life. So, this is actually a subjective topic. But I completely disagree with people, who believe that “you live life as it comes by”. Or something like, “you should learn to accept and live with what you get, rather than dream about what you might want to get”. I do not tolerate such views. I believe that everybody has an unconscious purpose in life. I believe that everybody has an unconscious affinity towards a certain area of interest.I cannot name the reasons behind such beliefs clearly. I don’t know more about them yet and wish to learn more. But this is certainly what I believe.

Now, coming to the topic on whether the ultimate purpose of our life should be to serve others. As I said earlier, this could be interpretted i many ways by different persons. You can say “making others happy” or you can also, like Christians say “serving others”. But for me, I do not consider it to be my ultimate purpose in life. I am not born to serve others, I am born to serve myself. I strive to keep myself happy, and to do this, I will keep my friends happy. Because seeing them happy, makes me happy. So the basis/motive is the difference here.

One might strive to serve others on the basis of ‘duty’ and ‘God’. My basis is my own happiness. Every act I carry in my life, has my own selfishness in it. Even love, I believe is a very selfish act. Ayn Rand puts it very clearly,

“When you are in love, it means that the person you love is of great personal, selfish importance to you and to your life. If you were selfless, it would have to mean that you derive no personal pleasure or happiness from the company and the existence of the person you love, and that you are motivated only by self-sacrificial pity for that person’s need of you. I don’t have to point out to you that no one would be flattered by, nor would accept, a concept of that kind. Love is not self-sacrifice, but the most profound assertion of your own needs and values. It is for your own happiness that you need the person you love, and that is the greatest compliment, the greatest tribute you can pay to that person.” (1964, Playboy Interview)

So therefore, we need to define a purpose in our life. But we haven’t come to the part where we have to think about why bother at all with a purpose in life? Do you believe that you are already assigned a purpose by some omnipotent being? This is the one topic that is running on my mind right now. Maybe you readers can help me…

The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead is the first novel I read about objectivism. Well, the book did not exactly tell anything about her philosophy like her next one Atlas Shrugged. I fell in love with both Dominique and Howard Roark. That is all I can describe about the book because I don’t have any other words to describe it. The prose was fantastic. I actually had the impulse to buy the book immediately. Even now, I want to read the book again.

When I say I fell in love with Roark or Dominique, it means I liked the values and morals they represented very much. But sad to say, I didn’t understand the novel that well when I first read it. I have to read it again to write a good review on the book.

But I just wanted to express how much that book had changed the course of my life. I’m sure all objectivists started out like that. With sleepless/restless nights following the days of reading Ayn Rand. You just lie there on the bed, tossing and turning, thinking about what Rand has expressed in her novel. My view about the world had changed the instant I read that book.

Now I’m in the process of reading Atlas Shrugged. I have to read finish it before Harry Potter’s 7th book is released on the 21st. I had to read this book slowly because I needed to grasp the full meaning of what Rand is trying to convey through her well-devised dialogues. I’m reading John Galt’s speech now. In the middle of it. His speech makes it perfectly clear what objectivism is all about. It’s the speech that Rand wants to make to the world. I love his speech. I love Atlas Shrugged

How I came upon objectivism…

 

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. At least, as the saying goes. But it is not enough as to the reason why I read a lot. My friends think I am such a bookworm. One of them even went to the extent and said that I would probably never stop reading till my grave!

Reading is not an exercise to the mind. It is an exercise for the reasoning mind. I learned a lot from reading. People seek knowledge while reading books that convey vital information. But not all books are of such kind. You have to search for books that interest you. You have to be intelligent enough to look out for credible authors, being able to give you the correct information without any bias, or bad logic.  

Non-fiction books have much to offer to the knowledge bank compared to fiction. If you want a good entertainment for your mind, go for fiction of any kind, romanticism, horror, comedy, suspense, thriller and mystery. If you want to experience some growth of your knowledge bank, go for non-fiction. But whatever it is, reading is a very good way of conditioning your mind. 

As humans, we are very capable of thinking for ourselves. We don’t always have to rely on others and follow the crowd. Instead, we can devise our lives for ourselves. Such individualistic streak can be obtained from reading books critically. That’s because reading requires us to think about the issue or subject written on our own.  Reading is also an endless journey. After reading one book, the book itself will direct you to another similar or entirely different book. Or you may want to pursue similar topics in a different viewpoint. Reading widely, now that’s very important. You will gain more confidence about your intelligence by reading widely. 

That is when I encountered Ayn Rand. When reading was a very important part of my life. My friend directed me to it. I read her fictitious novel, The Fountainhead, and immediately fell in love with her philosophy. It was whatever I had in my mind but didn’t know how to express it. I was only aware that I didn’t agree with what most of the people lived with. The notion that we are born to serve others. I started this blog so as to experience my revelation upon entering this new world of objectivism. I want to live my life for myself from now on. Nothing is wrong with my notion of life until I discovered Rand and her philosophy. I’ll try to post regularly, but that’s not a promise.  

Selfishness Is Virtue

Some of them, like Ayn rand, have said this. Some of them have condemned it, praising altruistic behaviour. But is it possible to be truely altruistic? To help others, disregarding our own self-interest. Is it truely possible?

As humans we are born selfish. Selfishness is our true nature. But like they say in spiderman, everybody loves a hero. A hero who sacrifices himself and his desires, his wants for the ‘greater good’. Gosh! Cut the crap man! Or like they say, “Give me a break!” I hate people behaving like self-sacrificing animals for all the wrong reasons. Well, not exactly wrong. But reasons that are not logical, shall we say?

People give stupid reasons when asked why they did something altruistic for the poor people or for the ill people. Well, at least i think they are stupid. People do good because they go by the Book. People do good so that they get praised and be put on a pedestal by others. People do good because they want eternal rewards in there after-life. People pretend to do good, to attain power and control.

But the truth is, we all do good for some selfish reason. Even Mother Teresa should have had some good selfish reason to have done what she had done. Even if it was just some pure personal satisfaction. Why not be selfish, then? Take care of ourselves, first. We can only give love to those who we think deserves our love. Be selfish. Be honest. I think only selfishness and honesty are two true virtues. When I say selfish, I do not mean taking care of your own interests with “disregard to that of the others”. I only mean, taking care of your own rational self-interests and being an end unto yourself. You don’t expect others to sacrifice themselves for you and you should not sacrifice yourself for others.

We have to value our existence. In my previous post, when I quoted the bible verse, “Love the Lord thy God…”, I interpretted the word “God” metaphorically. To me, it means “love your existence”. To me, Man is God. There is a God in everyone of us. Someone there in us who knows what is right for us, what wrongs we do. It makes us feel guilty. It guides us through darkness. This might just be an illusory feeling. But there is a God in each and everyone of us. Let’s find it inside us and not outside.

***The ideas presented in this entry are not entirely mine. Some of the credits and copyrights go to philosophical ideas of Ayn Rand and Osho. I borrowed some from here and there.***

–Wynand asked:
“Howard, have you ever been in love?”
Roark turned to look straight at him and answer quietly:
“I still am.”
“But when you walk through a building, what you feel is greater than that?”
“Much greater, Gail.”
“I was thinking of people who say that happiness is impossible on earth. Look how hard they all try to find some joy in life. Look how they struggle for it. Why should any living creature exist in pain? By what conceivable right can anyone demand that a human being exist for anything but for his own joy? Every one of them wants it. Every part of him wants it. But they never find it. I wonder why. They whine and say they don’t understand the meaning of life. There’s a particular kind of people that I despise. Those who seek some sort of a higher purpose or ‘universal goal.’ Who don’t know what to live for, who moan that they must ‘find themselves.’ You hear it all around us. That seems to be the official bromide of our century. Every book you open. Every drooling self-confession. It seems to the noble thing to confess. I’d think it would be the most shameful one.”
“Look, Gail.” Roark got up, reached out, tore a thick branch off a tree, held it in both hands, one fist closed at each end; then, his wrists and knuckles tensed against the resistance, he bent the branch slowly into an arc. “Now I can make what I want of it: a bow, a spear, a cane, a railing. That’s the meaning of life.”
“Your strength?”
“Your work.” He tossed the branch aside. “The material earth offers you and what you make out of it…”– The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand