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(ayn) rand (om) thoughts

i'm not saying i'm not occasionally one of them, but it upsets me to see people continually succumb to desires they claim to abhor. is it addiction? no. is it a lack of self-control or an inability to conquer peer pressure? perhaps. boredom? lack of memory and/or foresight?

what kind of men are we if we can't remember or guiding principles?

worse yet, is the real trouble that we're so imbued with our interpretation of society's normal standard that we can't see we're lying to ourselves about what we actually desire?

is it better to admit you want something other people don't like and get it or is it better to claim a momentary lapse of weakness by partaking in something bad and pretend no enjoyment of it all?

objectively, i tend to think the former is the more acceptable behavior, logically (--to the point of infringing upon personal liberties, i suppose). it seems so much more respectable to see a man live his life honestly (and perhaps without remorse).

the latter leaves a man lying to both himself and his peers. but, somehow, i see this as the more socially acceptable course of action. how is it that society's norm leaves all men feeling guilty for their own personal desires but also absolved for their unwillingness to admit them openly (a.k.a. their tendency to deny the truth)?

i'm a firm believer in truth above all else. it sickens me that somehow we gave honesty the bum rap.

it's a cop out, an easy excuse, to shroud the truth under addiction and compulsion. it's an immediate reward of absolution--from those (ourselves included) who choose not to think for themselves, but to follow the tide of public opinion.

but who really determines public opinion? is it all men in a collaborative process? hardly. a select group of senators or news anchors? one man, the president, elsworth toohey?

and what is public opinion? it's what we think everyone else thinks we should be doing with our lives.

oh! what the fuck, people?

so, what then of the howard roarks of the world, the egotists, the selfish pricks in the eyes of the altruists? is their honesty really so deplorable? their integrity so offensive? logically, no. they embody many ideals we hold dear. but, they don't need us to do it. they don't need us for anything. not recognition or absolution or forgiveness.

and that's why we hate them. we're all caught up in this ridiculous notion that self-worth is not at all determined by self, but instead by any and all things, not-self.

they strive to their own personally-determined purpose. we aim for what we think other people think we should be shooting for. our only desire is to be accepted by the men we think hold those ideals in their hearts. but (to paraphrase rand), in order for a man to say he believes in something, he must first be able to say "I."

we are but blind sheep in a flock, waiting for someone to see the way for us.


( 7 comments — Say Something )
Apr. 21st, 2005 04:11 am (UTC)
hm...i just read anthem last week, ( i ) enjoyed it!
Apr. 21st, 2005 04:19 am (UTC)
reminds me of the "looking-glass self" philosophy of social theory... your identity is based on what you think others see you as.

i agree with honesty over self-deception, but we as a culture are too afraid to give into anything that might be considered deviant, so we pretend not to want it. in these cases, honesty leads straight to deviance.

don't know if that makes sense... i'm sleepy.
Apr. 21st, 2005 05:59 am (UTC)
I can't help but notice the closeness in time of this entry to my comment about sometimes smoking pot even though I don't really enjoy it anymore and assume that my comment sparked this reflection.
I stand by my HONEST answer that I believe it's basically out of boredom. I also believe it's out of nostalgia... I had talked about how smoking pot seemed like so much fun in high school and now it's lost its edge. So maybe I'm hoping to get that excitement back, but it's obviously not happening. I had quit for a long time for that reason, but I guess I'm being encouraged by being around so many people who offer it so often.
While I am kind of obsessed with what people think of me, I rarely find myself in a situation where I'm denying myself of a pleasure simply because other people don't approve. What's the point in living if I succumb to that?
A lot of people you and I know are "so over" certain drugs... and yet will not refuse them if the price is right (or non-existant). I think it's the same thing with them... boredom and the lost hope that somehow this time it will feel like the first time.
Apr. 21st, 2005 10:48 pm (UTC)
not about you personally.

if i wanted it to be about you i would have said so.

but it is about you in the broad sense. and me. and stew. and eli. and joe. etc. everyone.

please excuse my social commentary it was not a personal attack.
Apr. 21st, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC)
I didn't really feel that it was an attack, but realized that my comments sparked it and based on some things you said, I felt I should further explain what I thought about the whole subject.
Apr. 21st, 2005 05:08 pm (UTC)
"and what is public opinion? it's what we think everyone else thinks we should be doing with our lives."

Apr. 23rd, 2005 11:00 pm (UTC)
Sartre-ian/Yeshewan/Wallace-y affirmations
It's tough to take on an almost monastic self-disciplined lifestyle, though. But worth the effort ... and oh so easy to lose. I think that when people realize that they don't enjoy drinking/rolling/hanging out watching TV/whatever anymore, that things will change if they try to abstain from whatever activity it is they abhor while still remaining in the same circle. That is why I believe the Roarks leave society, because they no the power of transformation lies within yourself but will certainly never happen if you continue on with whatever path their on. That's why they remove the motive power (I can't remember the term ... synonymous ability) from society, to stop them in their tracks and lead them a new direction. That is why Dagny Taggert stands up when she's pissed off and putting people in line because when you are speaking out in defiance, you must stand up. And she thought she could change everyone without leaving the company but she was wrong. Even the Bible makes such references ... I can't find the passage, but it says that it's better for you to leave all you have (father, mother, brother, sister, etc.) to walk in righteousness. And so Roark and the heroes of Atlas Shrugged do ... they abandon all they have to live a more perfect life. Yeah, I'm rambling now, but my point is, change doesn't come easy and isolation plus time, begets speciation/evolution. Dig?
( 7 comments — Say Something )

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