Joas Posted August 19, 2022 Share Posted August 19, 2022 This is my first post. As a person who read The Fountainhead 3 or 4 times cover-to-cover, starting in my youth, I can confidently say that it has shaped my life. I'm now in my late 40s. So going straight to the point: I agree with everything the book describes, when it comes to Rand's philosophy: Integrity, Self-Esteem, Rational Egoism, Capitalism, Self-Interest, Work Ethics, Purposeful and Uncompromising life, and so on. What I don't agree with, and that comes from my own life experience, from observing myself and others as they grow old, is that Reason (with capital R) triumphs over emotions. It certainly did for Roark, who is a fictional character. In real life, any intelligent human being can use reason in a variety of situations to avoid making emotional decisions. That's great. But my critique is how realistically someone can sustain a life commanded only by reason without being heavily influenced by his/her emotions. I believe this is impossible to attain, for the reasons below: Subconscious: A lot of our actions and decisions, specially when we quickly react to a stimulus, are governed by our subconscious. For example, when you are having a bad day and engage in road rage, this is not a rational behavior and it is not something you can easily control. My point is that we will react emotionally in a lot of situations, and you have no rational control over that. Depression: Unless you have depression, you cannot understand depression. Like unless you have sex, you cannot understand sex. As someone who has had depression, I can assure you: Reason breaks out completely. How can you win the lottery and be unhappy about it? It is so outrageous and unreasonable that one of the biggest problems with depression is the guilt feeling a depressed person will feel for his/her nonsense feelings and emotions. Just to be clear I did not win the lottery, it is just a metaphor, but being sad after you won the lottery is just as irrational as 2 + 2 = 3. For an intelligent human being, having 2 + 2 = 3 on his forehead generates a lot of pain and guilt. Is depression a disease? I don't think the medical sciences have figured that out yet, but we all know that it is a realistic human condition on all levels for a lot of different people. My point is: isn't the plethora of psychiatric conditions present in the world a direct indication of the unrealistic nature of a pure rational life? Sure, there are people who will never be depressed, and will never have any psychiatric condition, but I wonder what Ayn Rand would have thought about her pure rationalism approach to life if she had depression later in life. Addiction. I have never had a drug addiction. But who can naively say that they don't have any kind of addictions? I could be wrong but I would think that as long as you have dopamine in your brain, you must have some kind of addiction, on some level (low, mild or severe). Go ahead and tell a smoker to rationally quit smoking. Or go ahead and tell an overweight person to rationally eat less. Or go ahead and tell a kid to rationally quit gaming. Or go ahead and tell an adult to rationally quit sex/porn. My point is: you can be as rational as you want, but at the end of the day, your dopamine will have a huge influence on you. For example, Ayn Rand was irrationally a smoker as she most certainly knew the health consequences or perhaps just chose to deny it so that her rational framework could have been sustained. So in closing, in my opinion, Objectivism is not bad, it is not wrong. It is just unrealistic to expect that someone can lead a life purely based on reason while avoiding all the traps above. That will certainly lead to frustration and failure in the long run. I still love The Fountainhead, but I wish someone had told me that when I first read it. 1 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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