Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NaBloPoMo 26 of 30

She did it again.

Lately the goings-on over on Carla's blog have been quite lively regarding Ayn Rand and Objectivism. I made a couple of comments in the mix, but didn't really feel like I expressed myself as clearly as I would have liked to, so thought I would write a little more here about some of the points.

Then I got up this morning and read Carla's new post, and thought to myself, well, there's no way I can express myself as well as she does.

But there are two points she didn't bring up that I might have, so I'll settle for just talking about those.

In the Objectivist's definition of the "bountiful harvest" we offer thanks for this week, it is said that today's harvest is 'affluence...success. Cars, houses, vacations, medicine, etc ...' and it is easy to say that those are not the things which matter - that it simply sounds like a materialistic inventory.

But what if you look at it differently, pulling yourself away from materialism. There is not a number range defining "affluence." I defy any of us who have regular access to the internet to say we are not affluent. My definition of affluence differs from Donald Trump's, but I am content with my definition - and I have achieved it, I do not need to worry about putting food on the table (except when I forget to buy milk) or have to choose between gas and a new coat for my growing child. So I am grateful for my affluence.

Same for success. I feel incredibly successful, though I do not have a 6-digit-salary, a large car or a mansion (Mc- or other.) And there is nothing in Objectivism to say that I can't use my own definition of success. And I am thankful for that. Carla mentioned the people who amass material goods but are not happy - I would simply argue they are not successful.
And of course I am thankful that my affluence and success allow me to have a car, go on vacation, have access to medicine and healthcare, and all the rest. I think that Objectivism is merely pointing out that it *is* ok to look at what you have achieved in life, and be grateful for those things, without being arrogant or boastful, but rather using your personal definitions and measurements.

Now, this is not to say I agree with all of the tenets of Objectivism, but I didn't read it as critically, if that is the best word, as some.

The other point I wanted to bring up relates to a comment made in reply to a comment I made about having my children participate in charitable giving. The issue of child abuse was raised - forcing children to do something they don't want to. And the comment didn't raise my hackles, I understand what the commenter was saying. But later, I was thinking that if you take that line of reasoning, couldn't you also say that denying your child something that they might want to do is equally potentially abusive? So much of what we bring to our children experientially is new to them, so you are likely to introduce them to things that they would not have chosen. But what about all those things that you never introduce them to? I am "forcing" my children to not learn Swedish by not providing for it to happen. I am "forcing" them not to be unicyclists, rugby players, harpists, or gardeners. Now go read Carla's section about the role of parents in guiding their children, as she said, very eloquently, so much of what I want to say.

It has been really fun having these new points of view brought into our little section of the blogosphere. I hope Carla finds something else to write about that keeps things lively!


Mama Ava said...

Ha. Don't count on it. I blame this NaBloMoPo. Thank goodness November's almost over!

Mama Ava said...

To whom are you grateful? Or to what? Or is it just an appreciation of the stituation you find yourself in at this point in time?

Your tone is much different than that of the original quote I posted. In that one, I felt a sense of arrogance, of patting one's self on the back and being congratulatory about what one has achieved with no consideration for things beyond your control that allowed you to be in that position. Your tone is more humble, more of an appreciation of where you are at in your life. I think that attitude and tone is more what I railed against than a specific number or bottom line of what is affluent or bountiful.

And trust me--today's post is more likely what you get on my blog! hee hee hee

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