|At some point in your life based on your perceived self interest you decided adopt a philosophy of life based on what you WANTED to believe rather than what could be demonstrated by fact and reason. Somehow this belief continues to serve some function in your life that is in your self interest. Fine. Millions of people will love you for it.|
Um, no, Mike, that is not remotely how it went. Not even close. You are making an assumption without knowing anything about me. What you have based it on is your blanket definition of religion, and that simply does not fly. "Perceived self-interest"? You are somewhere between psychologizing and attempted mind-reading. The blanket definition of mysticism in Objectivism is so huge that it barely serves any focused purpose.
I have never found a use for the general self-image of "superior". It certainly does not support self-worth. Perhaps in efficacy: "My 2000 rating in chess makes me superior at winning chess games to those with a rating less than mine."
But a "superior" consciousness? Surely there are tiers of consciousness that can be achieved. And at the higher ones, I'm thinking the posture of "superior" does not exist.
None of this matters. What is my purpose here? Do I have a reason to be here? Yes. Objectivism practically raised me. A great deal of it is incorporated into how I live, and the successes I have achieved. I remain a friend of Objectivism, even though it is true that I have become Unitarian, and belong to a certain kind of pluralistic religious community. And, there was the significance of Nathaniel Branden's psychological writings, how they impacted my life for the better. I even got to do a bit of meaningful work for him. Is it really so odd that I am here?
I think there is a problem with some Objectivists, yes, I do. More importantly, I observe lost opportunities because of these problems, these attitudes. The energy that goes into diatribes about mainstream religious folks (I am excluding radical fundamentalist activists, for obvious reasons) is pointless. There are bigger fish to fry, and Objectivists are uniquely suited to fry them. But coming from a stance of superiority, of thinly-veiled contempt, it is no more possible than if a religious person has the same kind of stance.
It requires a great deal of self-honesty to explore such postures. In the case of one with an Objectivist background, there are some common answers that come up. I know this because I was there, and I see it repeated in others. Whether I had become a Unitarian or not, these things were already in front of me. Observable behaviors both in myself, and in others.
And, it is much harder to integrate than it is to dissociate. There will always be Objectivists, and other "ists," (I am excluding fascists and other malevolent types in this writing)and people who have an individual religious consciousness of one kind or another. Reasonable disagreement on core beliefs such as the nature of the universe, and how we are internally is acceptable, it is inevitable. The whole world is not going to someday adopt your philosophy lock stock and barrel- we all know that in all reasonable thought is not ever going to happen. That is why the greater issue is a relational one. This is the challenge for all philosophies and religions. The alternative is, quite simply, war.
(Edited by Rich Engle on 12/28, 9:20am)