Rebirth of Reason

The Benefits of Objectivism
by Barry Kayton

Objectivism is a philosophy based in this world; a philosophy for your mind, your life, your liberty; a philosophy for life as it could be and should be. As such, the benefits of Objectivism are the benefits of life itself: priceless. Are there any hazards to applying Objectivism? Yes, as surely as there are hazards to driving a BMW (or any other vehicle). (See "The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand: A Personal Statement" by Nathaniel Branden.) However, the benefits of successfully applying Objectivism to your own life outweigh these hazards (in the same way that the benefits of responsible driving outweigh the risks of being on the road).

Applying Objectivism means living by principles that enable and encourage you to honour reality, your mind, your values, the individual rights of others and your own sense of life. That means the deepest respect for facts, a serious regard for the content and processes of your mind, healthy concern with the development of your self and the realisation of your goals, benevolence toward others, and a passion for life-affirming art. But these are features of the philosophy. What are the benefits?

The Benefits of a Philosophy Based in This World

Applying Objectivism means developing a deep respect for facts of reality. Whether the context is a business problem or a personal dilemma, being an Objectivist means identifying and relying on all the relevant facts and acting accordingly. The obvious benefit of this policy is that it empowers you to succeed more often than you fail. Instead of allowing yourself to be at war with reality, you ensure that reality is your permanent ally.

Respect for reality leads to a deeper appreciation of the world around you and the people you love. This contributes to a deep feeling of serenity; of being at harmony with the world; and to a joyful sense of life, since you know and feel that you're in touch with what really counts in life: the true, the good, the right, the beautiful.

Human life and values are always at the centre of your thinking as an Objectivist; not ghosts, ghouls, goblins or gods. This potentially makes you especially sensitive to the full reality of life's experiences (both your own and those of your family and friends). Instead of sleep-walking through life waiting for a life-hereafter, Objectivists seize the day and make their lives extraordinary.

The Benefits of a Philosophy for Your Mind

Living as an Objectivist means living consciously, being aware not only of what you think but how you think. Objectivism offers you an empowering vocabulary that enables you to understand, control and improve your thinking. This enables you to make decisions less hastily but more decisively, to identify connections between seemingly disparate issues, to cut to the root of philosophical, business or personal challenges, to eliminate stressful complexities from your thinking, and to improve your capacity for creative problem solving and imaginative inventiveness.

Since it's not a simple system of thought, Objectivism actually helps you to develop your capacity for self-expression as you learn to make finer and finer distinctions between ideas. This offers you the opportunity to learn to communicate more effectively, and thereby to reduce poor communication in your business and personal relationships. Thus, by getting your messages through to others and understanding their messages in return, you are able to reduce the stress caused by poor communication and benefit from more productive and meaningful relationships.

By internalising the principles of Objectivist philosophy ; rather than the repressive psychology of some of Ayn Rand's fictional characters ; you are able to develop your capacity for passionate feelings, bringing greater harmony to your mind's complementary processes of reason and emotion.

The Benefits of a Philosophy for Your Life

Objectivism helps you to be more self-accepting, self-responsible, self-assertive and independent. All in all, you'll build a healthier self-image and greater self-esteem if you get in touch with who you are in reality, eliminate your weaknesses and develop your strengths. By reminding you that your choices matter ; that your self and your life matters; Objectivism helps you to avoid (or eliminate) self-sabotaging behaviour. This leads to greater strength of character.

Objectivism inspires you to set and achieve practical short-term goals and ambitious long-term goals. It empowers you to dissolve irrational habits in order to achieve long-term interests. Being more goal-directed leads to a growing sense of pride in more and greater achievements. And being more active and creative in your career (whatever it might be) leads to greater career fulfillment and perhaps greater prosperity.

Does this mean Objectivism is all work and no play? Of course not. Objectivism is a rational philosophy for living. As such, it encourages you to develop your sense of fun and adventure. Whether you're playing basketball, traveling abroad or exploring a romantic relationship, the Objectivist world view says not only that healthy pleasure is okay but that it's good. (It's not the only good, of course. But, provided there's no clash with reality, the pursuit of pleasure amongst other values is a good thing.)

Objectivism provides a foundation for building deep, lasting, loving relationships. This has less to do with two people agreeing on philosophical principles, and more to do with learning how to really appreciate your partner, how to show and share appreciation and love, and how to be honest, open and committed.

Objectivism stands against both the tide of relativism and the tide of fundamentalism (of whatever variety). Objectivism helps you to learn to judge yourself and others by rational ethical standards. This leads to a deeper sense of right and wrong. Of course, there's a danger here. Many Objectivists struggle to balance the value of moral judgment with the higher value of rationality. Hasty and frequent moral judgment is no better than relativism. But as you mature and your understanding of the philosophy deepens, and your appreciation of the worth of people around you deepens, so you learn to apply moral judgment with the circumspection of a supreme court judge. It's when you struggle to appreciate the worth of real individuals (especially your friends and family) that you get swept up in the tide of moralism.

The Benefits of a Philosophy of Individualism

Objectivism encourages you to stand against the initiation of force by standing up for the rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. This leads to sensible, coherent and compelling political opinions. The fog of politics gives way to a systematic understanding of freedom. This empowers you to judge for yourself any action by government or pressure groups ; rather than relying on the judgment of others. And, if you're so inclined, Objectivism suggests ways in which you can make a difference politically, whether by using your voice, your pen or your vote to protest against every encroachment by government on individual liberty.

Being an individualist does not mean living in isolation. Instead, by practising the virtue of benevolence, Objectivism helps you to develop your capacity for civility, sensitivity and generosity. You learn to approach others as a trader, offering your best and encouraging their best in return. This holds out the potential for developing meaningful friendships and rewarding partnerships.

The Benefits of a Philosophy of Romanticism

Objectivism offers you a heroic vision of human greatness. It appeals to and encourages a radiant feeling of well-being in oneself and goodwill towards life, and a fervent craving for beauty and grandeur. As an Objectivist you develop a passion for life-affirming art, inspiring literature and music that reaches the depths of your soul. Life-affirming art is revitalising. It restores your capacity for benevolence and your passion for life. By appreciating art that celebrates life, you rejuvenate your inner commitment to your own life.

The Benefits of Living the Philosophy of Objectivism

Ultimately, Objectivism is about pursuing a life of extraordinary experiences and doing so honestly and benevolently with regard to reality, reason, your self and others. Disregard any one of these and the result is stagnation or decline. Balance them all by the standard of what human life demands, and the result is progress towards enduring happiness and well-being.

The benefits of Objectivism are the benefits of life: priceless.