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Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
Toiler, Student of a Certain Philosophy
I'm so glad that I chose to use a pseudonym for this blog for several reasons, but mostly because I do not want my writing to be associated with Objectivism.
You heard me right.
I'm a huge, huge proponent of Objectivism, for it is the best -- and only -- philosophy available to a modern man who wants to live on this earth and live well. This philosophy contains the greatest set of ideas to grace this earth since the days when Aristotle, leading in the footsteps of some of his fellow Greek philosophers, tore his way through eons of mysticism and so gave men a chance to walk through life, perhaps not on solid stone, but at least on earthen clay, which at that time was an enormous step up from the mists through which earlier men had to swim. Now, thanks to the awesome accomplishments of Ayn Rand, a man living today finally has the opportunity to stand where he belongs: on marble, on a foundation that will never fail him as he walks the entire length of his life, a philosophy that will help him to discover immense spiritual contentment in the act of being real, meaning rational, independent, productive, honest, true, and good -- in short, being proud, which means, being worthy of the word "I".
(Those of you who have read Anthem will understand the vast meaning projected by that last statement.)
But I am no philosopher. I am only a student of this particular philosophy, and perhaps not even a very good student. In addition to having read all of Ayn Rand's published fiction, including her early fiction, I have also read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (OPAR) by Leonard Peikoff several times, The Romantic Manifesto at least several times, plus just about every other major philosophic work at least once, including quite a few essays and tapes by Ayn Rand from the 1960s through late 70s. However, other than Ayn Rand's The Romantic Manifesto and her course on fiction writing and maybe to a lesser extent OPAR, it cannot be said that I have truly "studied" any of these works, only that I have read them. I am not even a layman. At best maybe I am only an accomplished student of her aesthetic theory. Beyond that I am merely a fan.
To be more than this, I would have to virtually end my writing career and devote far more of my time to intensive philosophical study, beyond just Objectivism. Can't do it. Won't do it. Don't want to do it.
When I am finally published -- I still intend to be and actually believe that my chances are looking up -- then you will probably never hear me speak my pen name in the same breath as the word Objectivism. The truth is, many of you will not even know who I am, and I plan to take steps to keep it that way.
I say this, not because I'm embarrassed by my philosophy. Quite the opposite! On a personal level, it's because I don't want the pressure. Writing has to come from exactly who I am right now, including every premise that I hold, possible warts and all. As many writers including Ayn Rand have stated in one manner or another, there's simply no other way. Fiction is simply too personal; the author can only project that which he has already integrated into who he is. Trying to go beyond that during the act of creation is suicide.
On another personal level, it's because the philosophy that I love so much deserves a more competent spokesman. I have seen in vivid detail recently what happens when a student of Objectivism misrepresents his philosophy in a public forum. The ensuing bloodshed (speaking metaphorically) is not pretty. I don't mind the bloodshed. Objectivists should be passionate about reality; as such, they don't take kindly to facts, especially about their philosophy, being skewed by the uninformed.
So there you have it. Toiler will probably publish under a pen name -- for more than one reason, incidentally -- and he will avoid discussing Objectivism when he represents himself as a writer. He will be, well... him.
I'm quite content with that, because I happen to be a big fan of me.