Maybe I will spend my time taking on Ayn Rand and her influence in politics by offering an alternative philosophy.
Ayn Rand’s philosophy of “selfish individualism” now dominates the thinking of the leadership of the conservative movement and the Republican Party. She claims to know the human being. Maybe I will contrast her selfish individualism with another philosophy of “ethical individualism”. Political platforms are an expression of values. The Republican platform is strongly influenced by Ayn Rand’s values. Are progressive values rooted in a different understanding of the human being?
“Man — every man — is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.”
–Ayn Rand, 1962
“If a man strives towards sublimely great ideals, it is because such ideals are the content of his being, and to realize them brings an enjoyment compared with which the pleasure that is drawn from the satisfaction of commonplace needs is a mere nothing. Idealists delight in translating their ideals into reality.” –Rudolf Steiner, 1894
Picture of homeless boy goes viral
A picture of a 9 year old homeless boy forced to do his homework on a pavement in the Philippines has gone viral with many saying he has inspired them. The boy is often seen begging with his mother in the same area, but shows a determination to get an education.
A medical student said it gave her inspiration to work harder. “I'm fortunate my parents were able to send me to school,” she told a reporter. “You really don't need much, you just have to be determined and focused on the things that you want to achieve."
All you need is a can-do attitude
The conclusion many draw from these stories is that all you need for success is determination, willpower and the right can-do attitude. One newspaper has recommended parents show the picture of the hardworking boy to their children next time they are moaning. Someone has turned the picture into an inspirational postcard with the caption: “If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”
The picture is used to suggest that there are no excuses for failure or poverty. Even if you are poor and live in a makeshift home, you have the choice to work yourself out of that predicament.
All you need is government services and a life coach
US Republican politician Paul Ryan's idea is that we can all rise above our circumstances – however difficult – through a program of government services and self-improvement. Inspired by the writer Ayn Rand, he recently presented an anti-poverty plan in which he proposed poor people should sit down with a life coach and develop an “opportunity plan”.
Sweden tried a similar plan spending $550 million on job coaches with modest results. The methods used by these coaches, including healing and therapeutic touching, have been called into question.
A life coach needs a philosophy of life
A life coach helps you create your own individual life. To do this you need a program based on some sort of philosophy of life. You would want a philosophy of life developed using scientific methods. The program would require a knowledge of what human freedom is as you can't just tell someone how to live. It would also need a practical understanding of how a human being works; what does it mean to think, how do I become self-empowered, and how do I set my own goals to strive for. It would need self-improvement exercises to practice applying the program to life.
The Philosophy Of Freedom is a philosophy of life
Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom is a philosophy of life that can provide the core of a life coaching program. The video produced here “How To Make Better Decisions” was created from The Philosophy Of Freedom and is an example of presenting this book in a life coaching manner. Success depends on knowing the world around you (concept of knowing) and knowing who you are (concept of the free human being). Its all in The Philosophy Of Freedom.
“Once we know what to make of the world, it will be an easy task to adapt ourselves to it. We can only put our full strength into our actions when we know what it is we are devoting our activity to.” POF 5.12
“Our life is made up of free and unfree actions. We cannot, however, form a final and adequate concept of human nature without coming upon the free spirit as its purest expression. After all, we are human beings in the fullest sense only in so far as we are free.” POF 9-11
This video presents 4 steps to make better decisions using the skills of scientific inquiry, idealistic inspiration, creative imagination and technical research. They are based on Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom which describes his philosophy of life: Ethical Individualism.
Homeless boy reference: Carl Cederström, The guardian