In the course of her life, Ayn Rand painted a number of vivid, monumental pictures of mankind’s greatness. And of how it’s achieved only by individuals. Possible only because of individuals, all of which have (or should have) their own mind, their own ego, their own subjective perceptions, and ultimately only their own judgement and standards.
Those who acknowledge their own individual existence, their right to it, and who recognize their ability (and right) to operate from (and for) it without any need of outside sanction are capable of greatness. The scope varies, and the fields an individual might take interest in vary wildly too – greatness isn’t confined to any particular field of study or work – with the only real limit being defined by the individual and his or her imagination.
If you buy into the bullshit justifications for mediocrity, for mooching, and if you buy into the idea that fixed characteristics of a humans existence are things we should feel guilty of, like sex, personal profit, selfishness, or even confidence or a healthy self esteem…
If you let people tell you an aspect of who you are is something to feel intrinsically guilty about… well, then whatever greatness you manage to achieve will be hampered by your own guilt, and by the actions you take and the values you adopt in allowing that guilt to be imposed on you. That is, of course, assuming you would even be disposed to try for greatness after having accepted that level of spiritual and intellectual self retardation.
Chances are though, you wouldn’t even see any value in it, and that if you did, you wouldn’t see the point. After all, if altruism and service to others is the highest ideal, and if you’re the kind to attempt living by it, then what sense could it make to put so much effort into serving yourself, into enriching yourself, or even into preserving yourself.
Maybe that last bit isn’t to clear…
What I mean, what advocates of altruism would be more than happy to acknowledge if they weren’t trying to hood wink you with their entire ideology, if it wasn’t an inconvenience to their stance, their arguments, their assertions… is that every moment spent on living for yourself is a moment you could have been helping someone.
Never mind if reliance on those helpers cripples their ability to figure out their own way forward, a way of their own making, since they’re so reliably able to lean on the help of others. And you know, a lot of people think my take on all of this (very much in line with Rand’s) is simply wrong. It’s not. And you don’t have to take my word for it either.
You might want to keep in mind though, whoever out there thinks I’m dead wrong, whoever out there reading this who relies on the help of others to get by in life, I will not help you and I am not the only one who’ll ignore your so called “need” for the help.
That’s not to say I haven’t been helped throughout the course of my life so far. I have been, often, and in ways I am frankly a little ashamed of sometimes. I’ve allowed it. The shame stops exactly at the point at which the help I’ve been given, has been because the individuals have their own reasons, their own individual motives, for watching my back.
It’s a two way relationship, and I voluntarily do the same for them. Why? They matter to me. Why not do the same for you or any other stranger? Because you, and they, do not.
Not in any way that would make me responsible for or obligated to helping you achieve your own ambitions, or even to look out for your own survival. Those concerns both belong to you, and if I have no personal reason to take on the burden then I simply won’t.
On the flip side, I don’t expect strangers (whether through taxation or charity) to do anything for me. My life is not their problem, and those that try to steal my problems are presumptuous, arrogant, altruistic little assholes. I am not a ‘do-gooder’ and, in line with that, neither do I want people to make it their business to do good for others, even it those “others” happen to include me from time to time. Keep your help, I’ll help myself.
If I don’t, if I fail to make anything of my life, don’t ever feel bad for me. It wasn’t your life to waste or fail at; it never was. It’s mine, and I live it on my terms. If I were to suggest anything to you, the reader, relating to that… I’d suggest doing the same. And no, I’m not saying you should live according to my terms, I’m saying you should define and live by your own. Or not haha, actually.
Make up your own mind, on that and on everything else.
That’s all I’m saying, really, that’s what it boils down to. Think, judge, believe, decide, act, and do it all on your own terms, not by terms and standards set by others on you. Even if you’ve allowed those kinds of impositions, all it takes to shrug them off is to withdraw your consent. Without your permission, few of them will hold. If any.