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Don E.    0

Hello, and thanks for providing this forum. 

Years ago I joined a different Objectivist forum, but I was really unhappy with the way the moderator restricted questions and discussions. Several times he deleted my posts, which were simply honest questions about free will and consciousness. All I wanted was to hear the thoughts of other Objectivists on those topics, but he wouldn't allow any discussion. I still don't understand why. I think he was just really irrational and dogmatic. As if there can be no thought or discussion about these topics beyond what Ayn Rand wrote. Other users had the same experience. Anyway, that was years ago, but it really discouraged me from trying to meet other Objectivists. 

But this forum sounds much better, based on the purpose statement. I'm glad to see there are other Objectivists who encourage checking all premises and discussing all topics - rationally, politely, openly, and honestly - without dogma or dictatorial moderators. 

Anyway, about me. I'm 40 years old, single, and I'm a software engineer. I grew up in Wisconsin, lived in southern CA for a while, and I currently live in Denver. I'm an Objectivist, and I think I can even say I'm an expert on Objectivism. 

I first heard of the name Ayn Rand through the music of Rush, of all places, in high school/college in the mid-90's. In the liner notes to "2112", Neil Peart (drummer and lyricist) wrote an acknowledgement to "the genius of Ayn Rand". I always thought Neil Peart was a genius, based on all his lyrics, so I had to wonder about anyone HE considered to be a genius! (I wonder how many other Objectivists were introduced to Ayn Rand this way. Rush is still my favorite band.)

So I first read Atlas Shrugged when I was in college, about 20 years ago, around age 20. And I fell in love with it. Here was everything I had always thought, but never knew how to put into words. Here, finally, were characters I could relate to, who acted heroically and rationally, who thought the way I did. Here was an explanation of why people are the way they are, and why the world is the way that it is, that actually makes sense. Here was a complete philosophy and morality based on REASON. It really changed my life. 

I was raised by Lutherans, and indoctrinated with that religion, through 8th grade. But I never really bought it, and I never understood why everyone else believed it. But my teachers and pastors and every other adult I knew didn't tolerate questions like "why?" or "how do you know it's true?". Not only did they not have answers to those questions, they would get angry if you asked them. And I never even met a non-Lutheran until high school. So I grew up pretty depressed. Like, why was I the only person who knew how to think rationally, who liked to ask questions, who wanted people to provide reason and evidence for their beliefs? I felt really misunderstood and alone.

So Atlas Shrugged was a revelation to me. It gave me the courage and self-confidence to finally trust my own judgement and rational thinking, including admitting I was an atheist. And it made me a lot less depressed. And her entire philosophy is amazing - so many deep and profound and original ideas. Ayn Rand is clearly a genius, to put it all together and explain it all so clearly.

After reading Atlas, I read pretty much everything Ayn Rand ever wrote. And I love all of it. As I said, I consider myself an expert on Objectivism. As far as I can tell, I agree with her on everything, from epistemology to politics and everything in between. And I don't just accept it dogmatically; I think about all of it rationally and honestly, and it all holds up.  

I've looked for criticisms of Objectivism from others, but they all seem to include misunderstandings or misrepresentations of her actual ideas. Or else just superficial criticisms of her writing style, which I also disagree with. I've never heard an honest criticism that has convinced me that any of her ideas are wrong (or that her writing is bad). But I am still always very interested to hear any rational, honest criticism or discussion or questions about Objectivism. Because I can't understand how anyone can disagree with it, when it all seems so clear and obvious to me, once you've actually read it and understood it. And I always enjoy debating with people about ideas. So I'd love for someone who really understands it to show me why they think it's wrong - I haven't met someone who can do that. 

I've heard critics say that you read Ayn Rand when you're a teenager and you fall in love with it, but once you grow up and face reality, you "grow out of it". Well, after reading all of her other books, I just fell more in love. I read Atlas Shrugged for a 2nd time about 10 years later, at age 30, and it was just as true and powerful as it was the first time. And now, 20 years later, at age 40, I'm reading it again, and it's the same thing. Certain passages still give me goose bumps when I read them. I think it's beautifully written, powerful, and true. I don't see how you can "grow out of" reason and reality. 

Well, that was a long introduction, and probably very boring. But it's nice to be able to share my experience of Objectivism with people who will understand it and appreciate it.  

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I was on a different forum for a short time and found discussions difficult, too.  There was an admin that didn't really know Objectivism and was a bit reckless with their admin privileges.  I came here and it's a much better place.  You'll find the people here more knowledgeable, whether they are Objectivists or not (Oist is a common term around here).  I'm currently rereading The Fountainhead and finding more in it this time around---last read was about 15 years ago.

Welcome!

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Wolf DeVoon    0
1 hour ago, Don E. said:

Well, that was a long introduction, and probably very boring. But it's nice to be able to share my experience of Objectivism with people who will understand it and appreciate it.  

Read every word of it. Not boring.

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