Shrug

In my college years, I read heavily into the writing of Ayn Rand; the author and creator of objectivism. Objectivism, in more words or less, is the philosophy that your own happiness is the greatest pursuit you can achieve with your life, through capitalist endeavors, sexual gratification, and intellect. It places each individual on their own mountaintop of “I”.

Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. – Ayn Rand

What I once revered as a worthy pursuit of my life, I now see as a selfish and egotistical pursuit that is a surefire way to expedite your life into an alone state of misery.

Why?

The pursuit of happiness is not a fruitless endeavor. However, if the pursuit of happiness is to be moral, the playing field must be level. We do not live in a level world, when the price of your happiness comes at the tears of the innocent.

I look around at the world and see a place where wants and needs have been substantiated into a small bubble of awareness; the line of acceptance is drawn at the perception of the pain caused to procure the ‘happy’ result.

Simply put, our children will never see the disgusting conditions of slaughterhouses, pink slime, or diaper-wearing factory workers putting together the contents of their Happy Meal™.

Our perception is our own responsibility, and we will ultimately pay the price for our choices. Perhaps you will never live as a cow in a slaughterhouse, after watching your babies ripped away from you immediately upon birth. However, you most certainly live in a world that is paying the price for factory farming, with increasingly polluted skies, global warming, and perpetuated mistreatment of life.

Our children – and their children – will pay the price for our choices.

Rand writes of a world where all of the capitalistic kings retreat and “shrug” the world to the ‘helpless masses’ that live off of their choices and reap the cream from their treasures.

She makes mistake of thinking that happiness comes from capital gains achievement, rather than helping a hand to your fellow man.

Shrug, Rand. Take them all with you.

Love does not come from selfish pursuits, but from sacrifice. It’s the smallest acts of love, such as opening a door, that actively untangle the many knots of selfishness and hatred put out by others – and ultimately, ourselves.

You are priceless. There is nobody in the entire world just like you. That means that you are the gift, just as you are. It’d be silly to think of buying your own birthday presents. It’d be even sillier to show up to a birthday party with gifts for yourself, rather than the birthday boy/girl.

Laying down your life for others does not mean dying – but living for them. 

Take it from Arnold:

“Tear down that mirror. Tear down that mirror that makes you always look at yourself, and you will be able to look beyond that mirror and you will see the millions of people that need your help.”

And let me tell you something, reaching out and helping people will bring you more satisfaction than anything else you have ever done….I can tell you, playing a game of chess with an eight-year-old kid in an inner city school is far more exciting for me than walking down another red carpet or a movie premiere.

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