#AtlasShrugged and #Ayn Rand are undoubtedly interchangeable terms. Ayn Rand’s heartache was that the premises of Atlas Shrugged were misunderstood. Indeed they were, because to understand them required our routine thinking to be set to a different dial or frequency.
Apparently, the centrally core concept of Ayn Rand’s philosophy can be coined in a single saying she herself promoted during her lifetime, which was: “Identify the dominant philosophy of a country and you can predict its future”. In my opinion, anyone who doubts this is living in a parallel reality of a non-such reality. Nothing could be further from the truth. She did denounce altruism ~ her definition being that it was a philosophy that demanded self-sacrifice. I think there is little need to bundle altruism and self-sacrifice together. Altruism is better defined as the mutual recognition of one’s own abilities and also the recognition of others’ abilities — since we are equipped to make judgments and think for ourselves. Self-sacrifice in its most debased and redundant form yields little to nothing both for the sacrificed and the sacrificer in terms of long-term gains.
It’s only logical that this difference ought to be clarified, because most definitions are based on the knowledge of guilt, so it only follows that Rand’s definition of #altruism would be based on this theme. What’s clear is that she wanted to change this theme and get people to tap into a new legacy of human progress.
It seems readily clear that Rand was concerned with Morality and Discipline as well. With the new definition of “altruism” as the non-guilty refinement of one’s uniquely innate and creative abilities, then the consciousness of “discipline”, or the discipline of consciousness can be automatically scripted with moral consciousness, either without self-denial or self-sacrifice. If a person is so intuitively inclined to exact and apply their well-developed abilities, how much time would really be wasted in self-sacrificing pursuits or immoral acts — especially when we have so much more to offer ourselves and others with our best abilities in full bloom, while connecting with others in the same esteem ?!?! Indeed, the need for conscious morality would just fall away and intuitive intelligence – and the intuitive development of all of our abilities would just step into its place, and with far superior attributes.
Developing our abilities is the most supreme and ideal way to help yourself and help others – equally. After all, you may be so full of self-sacrificing ideas that you are constantly possessed of, or obsessed with helping others, but if you are incompetently unprepared, uncultivated and disengaged from a refined version of general and unique abilities, there is little that you will be able to do for others. In other words, if you want to help others, you need to know how.
Ayn Rand was concerned because she noticed that a common narrative of self-worth was actually undermining a truer version of self-worth. The prevailing rhetoric pronounced that our only real worth is dependent upon submitting to the will of the state, or the prevailing theme of a society – rather than be independently creative thinkers and doers. This dependent thought system depends on a surplus or majority of a population to collectively denounce individualism – while even simultaneously believing that individualism is operating openly and freely. A more underlying theme of Ayn Rand’s justifiable rants was that we are hardly better than the authoritative abusers of society when we inadvertently admit ourselves to being abused and surrendering our ability to think and feel for ourselves. When we are disabused of our own natural abilities, we are just passing through time and space, while the authorities of life in the world, as we know it, program us to plug into their agenda and elite purposes.
Ayn was certain that a society of well-developed individuals will amass into a better quality society, because the relationships between individuals and groups of individuals would have a truer common base and common denominator of being authentically and creatively attuned to the truer nature of humanity, which is to think creatively, out of the box, be inquisitive and even be more collectively drawn to one another because of the attraction of our individualities.
Was Any Rand so correct in so many of her assumptions? Objectively, this question must be answered with an absolute and resounding ‘yes’. However, the only tool that Ayn had at her disposal for promoting a solution was the very same body that she knew was responsible for the self-sacrificing theme that was pervasive all throughout history. That “body” was the system of socio-political-economic operations that needed to be reformed. Overall, this is why she endorsed individualism and it is also why she promoted democratic freedom and feared the socialization (or citizen dependency) on/of government.
You know how they say you can take or remove a person out of a rebellion, but you can never take the rebel out of that person. So unless you take the self-sacrificing and abusing mindset out of the people that run the socio-political-economic operations of the world, it’s hardly different than even successfully eliminating the system altogether. Unfortunately for Ayn Rand, she just missed living in the age of Neuroscience. If you want to help people change the way that they are thinking and feeling, then you need to change the system that operates the thinking and feeling abilities of people. This system is our brains.
The bulls-eye factor for the non-self-sacrifice and altruistic individualism for a moral collective society of people with genuinely functional relationships depends on a full spectrum of brain development. We need to change from the inside out, rather than from the outside in, and any changes we make require the use and active involvement of our brains. Ninety percent, yes 90% of our brains’ flexibility for constant individual learning and independently creative thinking are built during the stage when 90% of the brain’s structural neuro-net, or basic framework is constructed. This happens during and only during the first five years of human brain development. This phase is the one altruistic favor that has salvaged any possibility of truly reforming humanity.
Remaining ignorant, or conveniently dismissing the significance of the necessities and natural requirements of the first ‘5’ years of brain development is the single most dangerous thing we can do, both as individuals and as a collection of people forming societies and nations. The full activation, development and highest potential of our brains (aka, our individual abilities) is completely dependent upon understanding and cultivating young children’s brain potential – and following or imitating the same measures for ourselves in the pursuit of improving the state of affairs in the world.
The highest development and order of our abilities are contingent upon the intuitive development of all of our cognitive abilities that depend on creative thinking and precognitive decision-making. Without the core elements of these skills being established during the first five years of development, then even the most supreme ideals and philosophies are doomed to failure. We need our brains for everything we feel, think, say, do and intend to act upon, and we need the assets of our brains full potential to be able to fully expound upon our uniquely innate abilities, as well as the common abilities and interests we share with one another as a species.
Understandably, Ayn Rand was broken-hearted and frustrated by people’s tendency to put faith into a real ideal that she presented as fiction, while she maintained a sense of trust that people would be able to comprehend the gravity of her non-fictional message — somewhere, somehow the twain failed to meet cohesively on common ground.