anthony Posted September 23, 2015 Share Posted September 23, 2015 A story I heard is of a young man going to a Rabbi, who at one stage asks the young man"What do you want to be when you're older?" He replies: "Oh, I'm entering college to study law, then I want to be a criminal lawyer, and ..." The Rabbi cuts him off: "I didn't ask what you want to DO, what do you want to BE?"It seems to me the 'being', among Objectivist circles doesn't always get enough play. The 'doing' seems to receive the lion's share of attention while the 'being' is left implied, overlooked. (I've the sense that simply making the implicit (and the given, and the self-evident) explicit, is a large portion of Objectivist endeavor).In Rand, there are many referents to "conviction" and commitment, and where she addresses 'being' more fully is in her writing on the virtues. But what are virtues for? Indirectly (I think) they are the means of gaining and keeping all one's values. Directly, they are the basis for an individual's composite character, his great value.But the greatest part of her expounding on the criticality of "being'" (character, convictions, virtues etc.) is of course implicit throughout her novels. Her protagonists are men and women who 'do' according to their character, or lack of. One couldn't imagine Roark doing what Toohey does, and the reverse. Implicitly we the readers understand that their character is the defining element of "Roark" and "Taggart" - etc. Simply, they do what they are, and they are what they do.Which brings this round to the under-pinning of Romanticist literature and art."Man is a being of volitional consciousness".Once again I think this elegantly lean statement receives more attention on the "doing" aspect. That is - the individual has to perceive, focus and cogitate by choice. He can redirect his thinking, by choice. Or he can simply "switch off". Volitionally.But the "action" of consciousness is part of a symbiosis -- since there exists simultaneously one's "state" of consciousness.If you look at her statement again, you see it also and equally means that you volitionally select the content of your consciousness and give it its unique, individual identity.One chooses one's consciousness, by all that one does. A lot of Objectivists already know this from "man is a being of self-made soul". I knew of it, but for a long time didn't put the pieces together.Character, then, is destiny, I believe - with one caveat ... that it accompanies action. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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