Ayn Rand/Objectivism Sightings
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When you've lost yourself..
And yet, I do nothing to move towards them. I have only these vague wishes, nothing concrete and measurable. Nothing that a plan could be applied to. I want these things as they are in abstract form, not conceptually. Are they only ideas I strive to understand and hold? No. They are true to reality. True to human emotion and understanding. Attainable. Yet if they are, am I so ignorant that I cannot put them in a form that is achievable? Is my ignorance that of their expression in reality? Or their application to my own person?
If you asked me what would make me happy, I would reply with ideas and concepts, complex ones at that. But none would be specific and achievable by setting goals and defining obstacles. In fact, isnít that my problem? I canít define in reality what would make me happy. I can only abstract the idea of happiness as a virtue. As an end worth striving for. But ask me to put my desire into terms understandable and measurable and I would failÖspectacularly. Iím certain I could bullshit a response that would satisfy most, or confuse them at the least, but I would still be left without an answer.
Itís times like these that a normal person would turn to God, or religion, or doctrine, or some other such prescribed mysticism designed to cure the ailments of the mind by eliminating the unanswerable questions. God has the answers, and the plan you seek! Meditation (the removal of thought) holds the key to inner peace! Rise up against your foes and find your true worth! All of these are noble and workable resolutions, but they are hollow. They ignore the mind as the source of the disruption. There is a rift within me. A contradiction between who I am and who I want to be. What the values I profess to hold are and how I act in the world.
My integrity is solid and unbreakable, and at the same time constantly betrayed by my actions. I fear that the disappointment I feel in myself is irreconcilable. I havenít committed unforgiveable crimes, I havenít hurt those around me except by being absent. But I do feel that guilt as well. My absence has lessened the lives of those I care about; I thought it was necessary. But it was only necessary if I figure this out. But I feel even more lost now than I did then. I am better now, that is true. I feel stronger, more solid, but also more fractured at the same time. I canít explain that though I will try. Though it seems a contradiction, it isnít. I have learned many valuable lessons over the last few years, though not as many as I should have, by my own standards. When I was younger I was so sure of myself; this may be a common feeling. That as you age you lose yourself more and more. That you always think you know everything when youíre young. I donít think it should be so. I sometimes wonder if alcohol or other drugs have played a part. Have I hurt my mind to the point where I am no longer able to understand myself? Am I less than I was, to the point that I am LESS than I WAS? Was I more capable in my adolescence than I am now as an adult? Itís possible, but I refuse to believe it. Though reading my old writings does leave me astounded at times.
It isnít that I thought I knew everything when I was young, it was that I knew everything about me. Who I was. Not necessarily the path I would take or the things I wanted, but I was sure of who I was. This was clear. Sure, I questioned faith. And when no answers flowed I turned from catholic to agnostic. I found Ayn Rand and objectivism and that echoed who I was so much. I remember reading Atlas Shrugged, particularly Galtís speech. I was truly amazed! Truly amazed! The affirmation of who I was and what I believed in my heart was more than I can describe with words. Perhaps I could convince you with body language, the tone and tenor of my voice, and the expression of my eyes, but mere words alone could never describe the completeness I felt. The life I felt in those moments. The certainty! That took over for a long time, at least a couple of years. I wanted more, I knew that I still had questions and I was certain this philosophy held the answers!
But it faded somehow. Iíve tried to re-read Atlas Shrugged, but canít regain that same feeling. I try to manufacture it, but Iím too self-aware for it to take hold. I have always envied those of faith. That they can hold onto that happiness, that feeling of freedom and trust. I wish I were able to do so, but I am incapable. Believe me I have tried, but it clashes with my very being. From the time I was young, the idea of believing without cause has contradicted who I am. And so I fear that I question myself to the point where I can no longer be sure of anything. I am the cause of my own problems. A good friend once told me, ďGet out of your own wayĒ. The day I can do this is the day I finally take a step forward again. But for those of you who, like me, canít make sense of how to do this, this is a game that is very difficult to play. Trust in yourself without cause, the very thing that you cannot do. But the act of not trusting in yourself is the antithesis to who you are. You are your own God, and yet you donít have the faith to believe in it. You state it and part of you believes it, but there is enough that says, ďYouíre fooling yourself againĒ. ďYou canít skip aheadĒ. ďYou still have to put in the workĒ. ďYou still have to figure this outĒ.
How do you believe in yourself after you have lost that trust? How do you move forward when you constantly let yourself down? How do you change when you can so easily talk yourself out of it? How do you define your own desire, when that is the one thing that should define itself? What if youíre never able to? What if these are the questions that are holding you back? But what if you canít let go?
When youíve lost yourself, how do you find it again?
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