Dglgmut Posted August 8, 2012 Share Posted August 8, 2012 As I brought up in another thread, Rand made the point that in order for our actions to be guided by reason, we must have an ultimate end in mind--an end in itself. She believed that life was an end in itself.This obviously doesn't represent her view accurately, for we can conclude from this assertion that simply surviving as long as possible is a reason to be alive in the first place, and that would contradict many of her other premises.What, then, is our end in itself? If we assume simple organisms can experience pleasure, then pleasure becomes their end in itself. Not life, but pleasure. The fact that they derive pleasure from life sustaining activity is coincidental, and for this reason they have been naturally selected.Animals can associate pleasure and pain with entities, and emotions bridge the gap between perception and sensation. They anticipate pleasure or pain, and that anticipation is the most primary level of emotion.Human beings anticipate pleasure and pain, but they can also anticipate emotions... Like an advanced chess player who can see many moves ahead, not looking to take pieces but to put himself in a particular position, human beings anticipate so far ahead that pleasure and pain become less important than the guiding emotions; being in position to obtain something becomes at least as good as having it, and further, being in position to obtain a position is at least as good as having the latter position. And this is how pleasure has become so far removed from the level of happiness we seek.The end in itself, for human beings, is happiness. The only reason for us to do anything is that it would result in more happiness. The only thing that makes life worth living is happiness.That being said, our task then becomes identifying the sources of happiness (effectively increasing our anticipation). Rand used human nature, and many of her own theories, in attempt to identify as many sources of happiness as she could (though she wouldn't have agreed). If she had known that's what she was doing, she may have been more open to the importance of social relationships (they don't fit with her life-as-an-end-in-itself premise).It makes sense that we would derive happiness from forming good interpersonal-relationships, or, more accurately, feeling socially competent (able to form good interpersonal-relationships--more anticipation). It makes sense that we would associate friends and connections with more opportunities for happiness, and so making friends and connections brings us happiness.Considering that happiness is the ultimate purpose of life, necessity must be defined as necessary for achieving happiness. Life is necessary to achieve happiness, and so everything that supports life is a necessity in turn. However, regarding the necessity of food to survival, we can look at an apple and know that though we do need food to live, we do not need this apple in particular to live. And so as we need happiness more than anything, we do not need any source of happiness is particular.If human connection is necessary for achieving the deepest level of happiness we know, that does not mean any person or group in particular is necessary to our happiness. We can say we need to be loved, and yet we have many choices as to the source of the love.Anyway, that's my attempt at a systematic theory of life, happiness and love. I hope it's reasonable. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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