- Books, Literature, and Writing
Summary Of My History
Recently, I have noticed that many of my posts have become reviews.
Actually, most of them are movie reviews, only one is a book review. I
do not want to stop reviewing movies, and some books because they offer a
good way to explore Objectivism
through art. However, I do not like that these posts are becoming the
majority because most of the time its the same themes being discussed
and they are really not as in depth as I would like most of these posts
to be. What I plan on doing is condensing my movie posts into one. Most
likely I will continue to see two movies a week, so I will just put
those two movie reviews into one post. As for books, I may be finishing
one every two to three weeks, maybe longer depending on the size and my
interest. Also, I may not actually review some books I read.
Additionally, I have also noticed many of my other posts are kind of repeating themselves. In the past week I have had a few about drugs, there have been several concerning the environment, and a few times taxes have been discussed. The problem seems to be that while I was at college learning different philosophical and political theories, and also hearing other students ignorant comments I had a large variety of topics to discuss. However, now I am interning with MPP, where I see the same things every day, and I am living with my cousins, and we all kind of think the same. What I am planning on doing is discussing more things in my personal life, which have really happened in the past nothing of note is really occurring right now. I will discuss many of my past events - which have really just happened in the past year - because they concern my development into Objectivism and pursuing truth, so some new interesting themes can be discussed. Of course, there will be an occasional somewhat government somewhat political somewhat entertainment related post in between. Also, there may be less posts in the future for a short while, maybe about a month of two. This may be especially true after Independence Day. This would be due to some events that are coming together that I will discuss when they work out, or even if they fail.
With that I will begin with a brief history of my time from Junior High to High School, and the summer of my Senior year, which led me to be more concerned with Objectivism. However, before I get into it I would like to just state for the record that I will be discussing some of my relationships with people I used to communicate with, but I am not writing this to try and prove to them that I am better than them or anything like that. Since this is a public blog any of them can access that; however, I am not concerned if they access it or not, whether they learn about what I am writing or not. I will not discuss them by name. I am going to be as objective as possible, always looking for the truth, meaning I will be commenting on my own past actions and their past actions. I am only concerned with discovering truth, discussing Objectivism, and understanding myself so that I can be the happiest I can be. I am not interested in making others angry or degrading others. That is a dependence on others' emotions and suffering, which is a vice and directly linked to self-loathing. I am not trying to rely on others' suffering for my own happiness; however, I am trying to understand reality, truth, and myself as best I can for my own happiness.
Now, I will begin with saying that I do not think people change very much. I believe that people choose who they are going to be very early on in life. This is not to say that people cannot change, for they always have free will. This is only to say that people pursue a personality, behavior, a self at a very young age. Usually, some who is a Marxist does not become a Capitalist. Obviously, that is an extreme; however, to make it more clear, people who usually choose to be altruistic do not eventually choose to be less altruistic and more selfish. As people grow, they choose to be more of what they are. An altruist will become more altruistic, and egoist will become more egoistical. The idea that people change as they go through high school, and once they go to college does not make sense. It would be to argue that the individual has no idea of who they want to be, meaning the person has no idea what they like, the person has no preferences. People have likes and dislikes from a very early age. These likes and dislikes guide them through life choices. Essentially, selfishness guides people to who they become. Even a religious altruist is acting selfishly, for he is choosing to act altruistically because he thinks it makes him a better person. Everyone is selfishly trying to be a good person; therefore, it is people's definition of what is a good person that is truly driving them to make choices in their life. Of course, the definition of "good" is instilled in children by authority figures. This is not to say children cannot grow into adults and realize their childhood authority figures were wrong about what is good. This is not to say adults cannot start pursuing a newly perceived good from when they were children. People always have free will, it is the natural right to liberty, it is individualism, it is the virtues of reason, egoism, and independence. All I am saying is that children's authority figures have a great impact on an individual's initial direction in life because the child comes to understand what is good from these authority figures. From there, the child acts selfishly to pursue that good.
Since that is the case my parents must have set me on the correct track very early on. I am not going to explore my childhood in depth here at this moment, I am not ready for that endeavor. All I will say is that I am not judging my parents lessons to me as a child based on who I am today. Obviously, every decision is personal, meaning independent of others; however, my parents early lessons to me did not cover what I have independently learned through Ayn Rand, Objectivism, Libertarianism, to a lesser extent Stefan Molyneux, etc. I am judging my parents lessons based on who I was in elementary school, and partly junior high school, and to a much lesser extent high school. I always remember myself being incredibly independent, individualistic, and rational. I had a great concern for doing well in school - though I will admit for much of my life I pursued academics so seriously because I wanted to be better than others, and obvious vice. Additionally, I also remember I did not become concerned who I was friends with until seventh grade. This is not to say I pursued friendships with everyone. This is to say that I only pursued friendships with people I liked, meaning people I thought were good. In seventh grade I became more concerned with friendships with people that could make me friends with more well regarded people. Somewhat more popular people, but they really were not like the stereotypical popular people in teenage television programs like The O.C. I have never actually watched The O.C., so it is not good to use that as an example. Basically, the people I thought were more well regarded were not like the popular girls in Mean Girls. I will get more into this later on. Finally, I also liked to do things on my own. Even throughout high school I hated collaborative efforts. I was on several sports teams as a youngster, but I never actually played the sports. I was more interested in running around and enjoying myself then with working together to score points. Those team work pep talks always annoyed me. I tried one sports team in sixth grade, cross country, a very independent sport. However, I became less interested when it was emphasized that our running times effected the entire team's score. Once in junior high and high school, I did not try out for any sports teams. This also extended to when my classes were assigned group projects. I never necessarily wanted to be the leader, but I always thought everyone's ideas were stupid and wanted to do things my way. I cannot remember any specific examples, so I am not sure if other students ideas were stupid. I am sure some were, and I am sure some were fine ideas. What really annoyed me, though, was the idea that two heads were better than one. I knew I could complete my homework efficiently, and that group work took forever. I also had several experiences with free loaders in these groups. I never failed any group project because of them, for I always took on the extra work to succeed. However, every time I heard "group" followed by "project" I immediately saw a beggar on the street.
I acted this way all before I was exposed to Ayn Rand; therefore, my parents gave me some basic definition of good related to the three great virtues reason, independence, and egoism. Thus, people really do not change, they just become themselves more.
By the time I got to seventh grade, however, I hated myself. This was due to my time in fifth grad and sixth grade. In fifth grade I distinctly remember an event towards the end of the year in music class where several students kept making comments right behind me. It continued for several minutes and several times I told them to stop. Finally, I asked, "Why do you hate me?" The response was, "We don't hate you," then they made another comment. During my time in sixth grade I went to a public school in an urban area. My parents gave me the option of going to a public school and a private school. I chose the public one - very bad choice. Throughout the year my parents continued to offer to take me out of public school and send me to the private school. They were not annoyed or frustrated offers either. They were genuine offers. They convinced me it would be very easy, and they would rather I went to the private school. However, I wanted to tough out the public school.
This acceptance of suffering is probably not related to religion. My family was never that religious. I accepted this misery because I was trying to prove I was tougher than other people. I always felt much weaker than other guys because I was not very good a sports and girls never outwardly admitted they liked me. I was trying to prove to myself I could endure a pain they could not endure. Of course, this is an incredible vice. There is never any virtue in suffering. Suffering is accepting the destruction against one's self. Happiness is the purpose of life; thus, if one accepts misery, he gives up his one and only life. He gives up his human nature. He sacrifices his nature as independent, for he depends on the success or failure or some other for his own life. He sacrifices his nature as individual because he surrenders his life for some other, he does not live his life for his own. He sacrifices his nature as rational, for he equates pain to good. Of course, the other problems with this was that I was equating success in sports with success in general, instead of success with the realization of one's values, or happiness. Also, I was depending on girls to publicly admit they liked me, for me to identify myself as a good person. Majority rule does not determine virtue or vice. Virtue and vice, whether a person is good or bad, not decided by the majority. Then there would be no virtue or vice because it would not be objective. Also, I was dependent for I was relying on them to like me in order to feel good about myself.
Unfortunately, the last point was only exacerbated through fifth and sixth grade. Since people degraded me at the end of fifth grade and continually through sixth grade I hated myself, I was convinced I was not a good person, I was convinced I should hate myself; thus, the only way I could be a good person would be if I had several friends. I was then relying on others to like me in order to be convinced that I was a good person. Several Friday evening I would complain to my cousin that no one ever invited me out. I would then mope around my house. I acted like I did not want to live any more. I never considered suicide. Personally, I find that concept completely foreign. I find it so disturbing that someone could identify his death as the best thing that could happen to him. Basically, it never made sense to me that no life was better than life. However, I just become more and more self-loathing. I pined after being friends with certain people, a few of those individuals degraded me, which just made me loathe myself more, and thus rely on others more.
During this time I was not innocent of degrading others. I did try to degrade the people that degraded me, but they always found a way to counter it. However, in addition to desiring for people to like me I was desiring to degrade others. I was not only relying on others to like me to feel happy, but I was also relying on others to feel miserable in order to feel happy. Unfortunately, the way this works is that one cannot attack someone higher than himself. Obviously, I would fantasize about causing the people I despised extreme pain, but in reality that could never be satisfying. The reason that this would be an impossibility is not because the better individuals, in this case actually the enemy and worse individuals, cannot be defeated by lesser individuals. The reason this is an impossibility is that if a lesser defeats a greater those greater than the lesser do not respect the attack. A lesser must then attack someone who is lesser, perceived as weaker, because then those above you respect you. So during this time I degraded one of my friends from elementary school. Of course, I had to degrade him in front of the people I wanted to be friends with so that they could join in laughing and accept me. Only very recently, in the past few months, have I begun to try and repair this relationship, which I destroyed in seventh grade.
As I became more and more self-loathing, I finally got others to accept me. It is not completely fair to say that all the others accepted me because I degraded others, but I will argue that my own self-loathing is what caused some people to accept me. Maybe they pitied me, maybe they wanted to fix me. Of course, that is not true for everyone. There are some who accepted me because they genuinely liked me.
Some other elements of my self-loathing included my belief that I was not intelligent despite my grades never being below a B+ and usually always being A's. My problem was that I defined my personal intelligence, my personal satisfaction with my knowledge, with how much more intelligent I was than other people. Being at a private there were lots of intelligent people; therefore, I thought I was an idiot. The real problem here, of course, is that I am once again relying on others. Also, another overwhelming problem is that I continually did not identify truth or reality as objective. It all depended on what other people thought. This lack of concern for reality and truth led me to verbally endorse amorality. I never acted on amorality. I never drank, did drugs, had promiscuous sex, etc. but I wanted to, which was strange. I had several opportunities to act on the first of the three at parties I went to, but I never chose to. I think it was the mere underage drinking law that stopped me from it. Not my current understanding of morality.
Eventually, in my Senior year, and during my Senior summer I had a girlfriend. Additionally, during my Senior year I went to the Winter Ball and Prom even though I knew I would not like either. Even after I went to the Winter Ball and disliked it I chose to go to the Prom. I never liked dancing, never liked parties, never liked being in large groups of people, or celebrating with people I did not know or care for, but I chose to go to them. I was convinced my life style was wrong and tried to break out of it, even though I hated it. I was probably confused because I loathed myself, yet also hated these activities. In actuality, my perception of truth and reality was warped; therefore, I could not tell that I liked solitude and I mostly liked myself, and that my self-loathing was unfounded. Therefore, I tried to break into something I knew I disliked because I thought I disliked the lifestyle I had always chose.
The relationship with my ex-girlfriend was obviously a disaster. I did not understand truth, meaning I did not understand love. She did not understand it either. As I have explained before to love someone is to selfishly choose someone as more valuable than others because the standards the other values are the same as one's own. Basically, one loves another because he selfishly values the other's virtues. My girlfriend and I were of different values and beliefs. She was liberal I was more conservative and moving into libertarianism. Therefore, we believed one another was distinctly wrong. One cannot love someone one believes is wrong because that is to believe is the other is vicious. Essentially, people of different values cannot love one another, for one identifies his own values as virtuous and all other values as vicious.
After that relationship fell through I was at the end of my summer, and I was left unsatisfied. I was also not disappointed over my relationship with my ex-girlfriend ending. That was the one thing I liked. I was also looking forward to college. I wanted to recreate myself, which I later found out was just becoming myself more. However, I did not want to recreate myself as more outgoing more popular etc. I had some kind of nostalgia looking back on my earlier life style and felt so empty with the past two years in junior and senior year. Therefore, I turned to the one thing I had enjoyed many years earlier. I believe in seventh grade my cousin purchased Ayn Rand's Anthem for me. I read that again at the end of the summer, and the problems with my started to become evident. I then read the rest of Ayn Rand's fiction works We The Living, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged and explored the Ayn Rand Institutes's website. I also explored the internet for Objectivist podcasts, and found Stefan Molyneux's Freedomain Radio, which helped me order my life towards truth. Though I realize I am not at the final destination, I know I am now much further along the path than I was in high school. I am happier now, more productive, more satisfied, more concerned with truth, reality, and morality. In some of the following posts I will be addressing some of these events I discussed, like friendship, success, relationships, etc.