Have you ever sat down and thought about what the meaning of your life is? Go ahead; take a minute to come up with your answer. If you said to serve God, then you’re probably a Christian. If you said to reach enlightenment then you’re definitely a Buddhist. If you said to lead a happy and fulfilling life then not only are you wise, but an objectivist.
What is objectivism? Objectivism is the idea that man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life. In short, according to objectivism—it is your personal responsibility to make yourself happy in life. Naturally, there is a subjective cloud hanging over any given human’s definition of personal happiness. That’s why objectivists believe in an objective set of morals, universally true for all mankind. This ethic is to have full, rational respect for others’ rights. In essence, this means that each individual must have respect for each other while going about their own path to happiness.
This ideal is exemplified in Ayn Rand’s (who founded Objectivism) “The Fountainhead.” The main character, Howard Roark, is a gifted and revolutionary architect. He stands as an archetype for an ideal human because he consistently follows his own beliefs and follows what makes him happy as a person rather than conforming to recreating the standard architectural designs of his time. But why would a person like this be good for society? Because steadfast individualism is what leads to progress. Only a fool sees progress as a bad thing.
“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision,” –Ayn Rand. Rand continues to state that every innovator who has ever lived has been met with criticism. For instance: the Wright brothers were told that flight was impossible, the engine was seen as impractical compared with horses, most musical movements…The people responsible for these innovations were probably not trying to be anything legendary, instead, they followed their own voice and created not out of a desire to be great, but out of a sense of duty to achieve their own happiness. For some people, being true to themselves is synonymous with happiness; like Howard Roark, the Wright brothers, etc.
Does objectivism stand along with other major religions? (Making clear, that Objectivism is NOT a religion, but an ideal.)
Objectivism rejects mysticism, the supernatural, and faith. Why? Because those three things are outside tangible reality. Remember, according to Objectivism, reality is the world as it exists, not as we perceive it. For instance, I could completely ignore the presidential campaigns next year. By doing this I would perceive a world where presidential elections do not matter, but that is not true in the world that exists. In the real world, domestic politics are of great importance, no matter how much I want to believe otherwise. Reality is the world that we live in, not the world that we want.
Naturally, this is devastating to religions because most of them assert the idea of supernatural beings and faith—both of which are outside the perceivable world. Religions that steadfastly posit the belief in a God would argue that God is not imperceptible and not supernatural due to their faith. However, this 4-step proof shows that the idea of a God is a supernatural one, regardless of whatever feelings his believers have.
1. Supernatural belief is a belief in that which cannot be seen
2. I rationally believe reality is everything I CAN see.
3. Myself, and everybody else in the world cannot see a tangible god
4. Therefore, God is supernatural.
This does not mean, however, that a God cannot exist in accordance with objectivism. He could exist in a more metaphysical way—that perhaps it is the mere idea of god that brings God into existence. Objectivism simply states that the idea of an almighty creator–like the God that appears in the Bible, is wrong.
To sum up,
A. Objectivism can be explained with three points:
B. Objectivists are fundamentally selfish: their own happiness is what they concern themselves with.
C. Objectivists do not believe in religion.
I personally think that this philosophy is fascinating, even though it does have some grey area. What do you all think? I’d love to read your thoughts about this in the comment box down below!