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achaya

Being a Teenage Objectivist

82 posts in this topic

Just having being introduced to Objectivism as a philosophy in life, I began to wonder; what is it like being a teenager and identifying with Objectivism? The more I read about it and the more information I gather, the more I see how identifying with and, furthermore, living this philosophy could be frustrating for teenagers surrounded by people who don't (for lack of a better term) "get it". So, what's it like? I would answer this question myself if it wasn't for me being completely and utterly new to the subject.

Your thoughts?

Edited by Achaya
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Nothing you're not used to :lol:.

Other than my english teacher not liking me, Schuyler (VogonFord to those of you who saw him post twice) making fun of me, and random socialists disliking me, it's really great. For me, partially, it served to reset the standard of who is the better person. I used to want to be popular and all that stuff, now I just live. Of course, you never had that problem if I remember correctly.

Repurcussions? Who cares. Most of the people who dislike you because of it are the ones who can't live that way. Other than that, most people are fine with it or at the very least completely indifferent. Once in a while I get railed on because I told a guy who threatened to slash a teacher's tires that if I heard that the teacher's tires were slashed I'd tell the administration that he threatened. He thought I was an asshole :blink: , but for that matter I REALLY couldn't care less :lol: .

The fact is that Objectivism boils down to, from a social perspective, a system by which to live with integrity. I wouldn't trade my integrity for the world at this point. People without integrity don't like you for that.

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Objectivism has always found its beauty in the young, its inspiration in the young. Read Nathaniel Branden's account in "My Years With Ayn Rand" about reading The Fountainhead when he was, I believe, 17?

I was not exposed as a teen, it was in my twenties, so I can't speak to it other than to say I can see how it would've really been helpful. Really helpful. The irony was that all those years, my mom, a voracious reader, had a copy of The Fountainhead sitting in her shelf forever. I never read that one because, mainly, of packaging (it was a book club edition and I assumed it was a cheese romance novel, go figure).

There is only one thing I will offer. Be careful with the empowerment. Be careful with the judgment. Be careful with the words you use to others. For some reason, it has a reputation for, in some, getting them to start throwing people under the bus, where they shouldn't. It can get indiscriminate. But from what I've seen here with our teens, I find great hope. I am very, very impressed.

You are among friends. There are so many smart and funny and wonderful people here. What an opportunity for you! I only wish...back then. Wow. That would've been something.

But that was all pre-web and such.

best,

rde

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Achaya; Remember Objectivism is a philosphy for living your life. You can't use force! You must use reason. Sometimes the most important thing to tell a person is that you don't agree with. You don't have to give speeches. Miss Rand quoted a Spanish proverb which she approved of. "Take what you want and pay for it". It's great to interact with you and Jeff. Thanks! ps I wish there were a word other than interact. It sounds so weasley.

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I really don't have a problem with it at all. The only times my friends ever get my philosophy full blast is when they're asking me for advice and things. And whenever our English teacher happens to ask for our opinion in an essay, she gets a dose of it as well. Other than that, I'm just myself, and no one really notices. Certainly people disagree with me, but I'm the sort that can set aside my differences and enjoy a person for their company. A great example: My best friend is a Communist. (I'm not ashamed to say so because I know him, and he's more than just a Communist to me. Nor am I worried about what people will think, because as far as I'm concerned, no one else really has the right to complain about my choices in friends unless they know both of us personally.)

But really, if you make wise decisions, being a teenage Objectivist is a piece of cake. I don't have friends who give me crap about my beliefs and can't accept them because the second I meet someone like that, I know I wouldn't really want to know them anyway. Simple :cool:

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WOAH!!!! Inky came out of hiding just for you Achaya! You must feel special.

Inky, how ya been? I haven't seen you here since...about a week after I joined up.

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“To hold an unchanging youth is to reach, in the end, the vision with which one started.” ~Atlas Shrugged.

Forgive me for shooting off my mouth in a forum for younger folks, but, you see, I never grew up. The high caliber of intellectual discussion here has my great respect, and all of you are a lot of fun to read too. I am glad to have run into you.

What is it like being a teenager and identifying with Objectivism? I am an old guy now, but I still remember those days well. I am not sure how much things have changed since then, culturally, etc., but I can share my own recollections, thoughts and experiences.

At 17, being an Objectivist was much like being a teenage werewolf, in that many around me were horrified. Statists of all kinds viewed me as a heretic who was dangerously far off the beaten path. E.g., conservatives and Christians thought I was some kind of amoral devil, not for what I did but for the freedoms that I openly defended, such as freedoms of the mind and body. The socialist-leaning teachers were incredulous that I could advocate free markets and “capitalistic acts between consenting adults.” No one around me seemed to “get it.”

Many people will view objectivism as a kind of philosophical cult, and one would only prove them right unless one can demonstrate true *objectivity* of thought, i.e., a genuine first-hand mind and a “life according to reason” (in Aristotle’s formulation) where one truly thinks for oneself. In this vein, Jeff mentioned some important points about living with integrity that I like: integrity is priceless and those without it will not like you.

Many objectivists are “know-it-alls” and not good listeners, and this helps give them a cult-like appearance. But, in intellectual disagreements, I find that I fare much better if I practice a measure of active and respectful listening. Then I can often – not always – encourage an authentic engagement of ideas with the other person. I may not convince the other about anything, but I find that it makes the whole discussion more mature, respectful and potentially fruitful. And I just may learn something new.

The key concept of *objectivity* gives one a balanced perspective and that sense of spiritual equanimity that helps one weather the storms of disagreements and social nonconformity.

Don’t ever lose that spirit of youth.

-Ross Barlow.

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Inky, maybe you can help me with this one seeing as you seem to have the same problem as me. Is having socialist tendencies/being a socialist a job requirement for English teachers? Anyone else can weigh in on that one too. I know Achaya's english teacher is a true femminazi/socialist.

Edited by Jeff Kremer
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"But that was all pre-web and such."

Wow! That was ancient history :tongue:

Bettcha don't remember pre-TV

Achaya

It was 1961 the last time I saw 17. But I still remember being different. I wrote a paper about reducing the size of the government and got an "A" because my teacher was a big Barry Goldwater fan already.

I also remember one night after a party and I was sitting on the stoop with my friend Jerry. Some cool guys came out and got in thier fancy car. Just as they were about to drive off they waved for us to come with them. Jerry ran toward their car and they took off laughing before he could get in. I was still sitting on the stoop because I didn't realy care for them anyway.

It was about 5 years later when I read Ayn Rand. I still don't care much about people that can't see a value in me.

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Make sure you become independent in body and mind--and move out of your mother's home before you turn 40! Or else, it could cause Damage. :cool:

Edited by Victor Pross
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One can teach. But don't always just teach Ayn Rand. It will feel, to them, like you are recruiting them into...something.

Reason, reverence, tolerance (yes, that's bad if you are AR centric) and, above all, freedom.

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Jeff; All English teachers being socialists is probably due to the post-modernism. I'm a little surprised it's just English teachers. I think a quality of respect is a very good and important. Respect doesn't mean agreement. One of the reason I like to watch the old Perry Mason series is Perry has a wonderful quality of respect. Whether's it's Burger or Tragg or even the person who turns out to be the real killer. I wish I could be that way.

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Jeff; All English teachers being socialists is probably due to the post-modernism. I'm a little surprised it's just English teachers. I think a quality of respect is a very good and important. Respect doesn't mean agreement. One of the reason I like to watch the old Perry Mason series is Perry has a wonderful quality of respect. Whether's it's Burger or Tragg or even the person who turns out to be the real killer. I wish I could be that way.

Chris

I must take exception to "All English teachers". If you said Many, Most, or the Majority, then I might go along with you. I'm very much opposed to socialists and post-modernism, but it's not true that ALL of any group fit a certain profile. My wife has a PhD in Education from a university in the former USSR and she will defend her dissertation for a second PhD from the University of Michigan next summer. She has some ideas which are to the left of mine, but she is no socialist.

Along this line, Isabel Meyers states that nearing 50% of teachers in the USA are SJ personalities, well out of proportion to the general population. The SJ stands for the 2nd and 4th component of ones personality type and represents Sensing Judging as opposed to Intuitive Feeling. This may explain more about their propensities than anything I’ve read.

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Objectivism has always found its beauty in the young, its inspiration in the young. Read Nathaniel Branden's account in "My Years With Ayn Rand" about reading The Fountainhead when he was, I believe, 17?

14. I read once that in the next few years he read it 40 times.

--Brant

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Upon my death I plan to request that someone read pages 503-506 of The Fountainhead. I think that is the passage that speaks to youth. Maybe I'll have someone for whom the playing of You Were Always on My Mind will mean something.

Edited by Chris Grieb
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I really wish I owned that book now. Oh well. I don't even have Atlas Shrugged on me right now. I lent it to Achaya at school.

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Chris

I really like Always on My Mind and I like the way Willie does it, but I have never felt it was my song. The words just don't fit me. I don't know if I'm simply not humble enough to say "Hey I screwed up" or what, but I don't want anyone even thinking about that song when I'm dead.

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I really wish I owned that book now. Oh well. I don't even have Atlas Shrugged on me right now. I lent it to Achaya at school.

Jeff, I am sending you a copy of of The Fountainhead and Philosophy Who Needs it by snail mail. Happy belated birthday. :)

Kat

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Thanks a lot! It's very much appreciated.

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How about me, Kat? Oops, sorry, I don't qualify. However, Jeff, if you want to expand your mind with the rationality thing, get a copy of Ken Fisher's new book, "The Only Three Questions That Count: Investing by Knowing What Others Don't."

--Brant

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What're the three questions?

--What do you believe that is actually false?

--What can you fathom that others find unfathomable?

--What the heck is my brain doing to blindside me?

If it were just an investment book, one of the best I've ever read, I wouldn't be recommending it.

--Brant

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So what it basically breaks down to is:

Am I wrong?

What can I figure out that others can't?

What does my brain do that it shouldn't?

That about right?

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Jeff,

I have not read the book, but you need to filter those questions through the lens of greed for them to not seem superficial. Greed is a very dangerous emotion and it can push us to involve our entire being in seeking unearned riches when the possibility gets near—so much so that we lose contact with reality.

Investing brings one such possibility. Gambling does too.

Greed is like fire. It is neither good or bad and can be used for both. But it will burn you if mishandled. I see those three questions as a checklist to keep the greed under control It is the primary blinding factor where money is involved.

Michael

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So what it basically breaks down to is:

Am I wrong?

What can I figure out that others can't?

What does my brain do that it shouldn't?

That about right?

Yes and no. It's primarily a book about thinking and the value is in the details. Your third reformulation is too distorting, btw: the brain does what it does for survival and evolutionary reasons and it lags our present-day needs in some respects and has to be trained around its natural limitations. An analogy would be flying an airplane in instrument conditions. When it is new to you the instruments are telling you one thing and your body another. You get an overwhelming desire to do things with the controls that would put the airplane in an out of control situation. Here is a case of "should" and "shouldn't" at war inside your skull and both are "correct." Your body and part of your brain are telling you that not to crash you must do things that will make you crash. Intellectually you know you have to fly your instruments while you fight a losing battle to maintain control of the plane because you feel that the craft is already out of control.

To get any real value from this book, you'll simply have to read it, especially the first three chapters.

--Brant

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