Wednesday, April 21, 2010
This morning I decided to take a trip to Mock Park to watch the sun rise. It was a beautiful spring morning--mists rising from the slightly warmer waters, birds chirping sonorously in the trees, a faint, cool breeze blowing. I took photos. I realized that it was just over a year ago there at that park that I came fully and firmly to the conclusion that Ayn Rand was right about all the fundamentals after eight years of equivocation, denial and partial acceptance on my part.
Existence has total and absolute primacy over consciousness—our whims, wishes, wants, hopes, feelings and prayers do not in and of themselves produce any effect outside of our minds. Only through acting in body can we effect a result in the external world, including sustaining consciousness itself. Consciousness cannot exist disembodied.
Identity and its corollary, causality, govern the universe. Causes originated by conscious action are a limited but important source of the multitude of effects we see. Effects originating from unconscious entities such as rocks, thunderstorms and planets are not "random" but causal. Attributing consciousness to the origin of every action is fallacious. Purpose and plan are concepts particular to the human need to think long-term in order to sustain our own lives. Immortality, if possible, would void the need for plan and purpose.
Knowledge comes through an objective process of observation and reason, i.e. non-contradictory identification. All facts bear on life and thus make knowledge vital. Because I know only by my own choice, ultimately I must rely only on my own judgment to sustain my life. My life is precious to me, and that is what counts. All of the joy and value I find with and in others flows from this basic judgment of my own life. That is selfishness, and, yes, it is a virtue.
Embracing identity, causality, primacy of existence, reason and selfishness in my life have led to many changes for me over the past year, but I am happier than ever. I feel no fundamental internal conflicts, which, though well-hidden, had plagued me for nearly two decades. I still have a significant hurdle to clear soon—graduate from the Ohio State physics doctoral program. This will continue to hinder my blogging, but I judged it important to reflect on and share my sentimental journey this morning.