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Ladiesandgentlemen,sometimeago,anacquaintanceofmineinCanadabeganaphilosophicaldiscussion
withayoungwoman.AlthoughhemadenoreferencetoAynRandortoobjectivisminthediscussion,itwas
thephilosophyofobjectivismthathewasinfactexpounding.
Whenhemettheyoungwomanagainaweekorsolater,shetoldhimofthefollowingincident.Itseemsthat
shewasundergoingpsychotherapyand,thinkingoverherconversationwithmyacquaintance,shewalkedinto
herpsychiatrist'sofficeandsaidtohim,doctor,whatdothewordsobjectiverealitymeantoyou?Her
psychiatristanswered,theymeanthatyou'vebeentalkingtosomeonewho'sanadmirerofAynRand.
WhileIshouldhatetothinkthatobjectivismenjoysamonopolyofthiskind,amonopolyintheconcernwith
objectivereality,thepsychiatrist'sremarkhasrathereloquentimplicationsconcerningthepresentstateofour
culture,whetherheintendedthemornot.Oursisnotanageinwhichobjectivity,realism,orrationalityare
conspicuousculturaltraits.
IfIwereaskedtosummarizetheessentialsoftheobjectivistphilosophyinasinglesentencearatherlong
sentenceIwouldsaythatobjectivismholds,A,thatexistence,reality,theexternalworldiswhatitis
independentofman'sconsciousness,independentofanyone'sknowledge,judgment,beliefs,hopes,wishes,or
fears.Thatfactsarefacts,thatAisA,thatthingsarewhattheyare.
B,thatreason,thefacultythatperceives,identifies,andintegratesthematerialprovidedbyman'ssenses,is
fullycompetenttoknowthefactsofreality.C,thatman'sperceptionofthefactsofrealitymustconstitutethe
basisofhisvaluejudgments,thatjustasareasonishisonlyguidetoknowledge,soitishisonlyguideto
action.
D,thatmanisanendinhimself,notameanstotheendsofothers.Hemustliveforhisownsakewiththe
achievementofhisrationalselfinterestasthemoralpurposeofhislife,neithersacrificinghimselftoothers
norsacrificingotherstohimself.E,thatnoonehastherighttoseekvaluesfromothersbytheinitiationof
physicalforce.F,thatthepoliticoeconomicexpressionoftheseprinciplesislaissezfairecapitalism.AndG,
thattheabsenceoftheseprinciplesfrommen'smindsandactionsisresponsibleforthepresentstateofthe
world.
IfIwereaskedtosummarizethephilosophyofobjectivisminashortersentence,Iwouldsay,manmustlive
exclusivelybytheguidanceofreason.Butthatisaverywideabstraction.Whatisreason?Howdoesreason
operate?Whatisentailedintheprinciplethatmanmustliveexclusivelybyreason?Whatarethepractical
consequencesoflivingbyreasonorattemptingtoactagainstit?Thesearethequestionsthiscourseoflectures
willundertaketoanswer.
IfinreadingAtlasShruggedandTheFountainheadyouadmiredthenovels'heroesandtheirmanneroffacing
existence,ifpartofthemotivethatbroughtyoutotheselecturesisthedesiretounderstandthephilosophical
andpsychologicalpremisesthatmakessuchmenpossible,thenIwanttostressattheoutsetthatthe
fundamentalcharactertraitoftheAynRandheroandthekeytoallhisothervirtuesisrationality.
Charactertraitssuchasambitiousness,integrity,independence,selfesteemarederivativesandconsequences.
Rationalityistheirroot.Toquotefrom"WhoWasAynRand,"quote,"Anunreservedcommitmenttoreason
andtheacceptanceofrealityasanabsolutearethehallmarkoftheAynRandhero.Heisthemanwhoholds
nothingabovetherationaljudgmentofhismind,neitherwishesnorwhimsnortheunprovedassertionsof
others.
Heisnotthemanwithoutdesires.Heisthemanwhohasnodesiresheldindefianceofreason.Heisnotthe
manwithoutemotions.Heisthemanwhodoesnotsubstitutehisemotionsforhismind.Heisnottheman
withoutpassion.Heisthemanwithoutarbitrarywhims.Heisnotthemanwithoutthecapacitytofeel.Heis
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themanwiththehighestcapacityforfeelingbecausehisfeelingsaretheproductofrational,noncontradictory
values,"closequote.
InAtlasShrugged,AynRandhaspresentedtheessentialsoftheobjectivistphilosophy,mostparticularlyofthe
objectivistethics.Ourtaskwillbetoelaborateandamplifythoseessentials,tomakeexplicitthatwhichinthe
bookisonlyimplicit,toexploreandanalyzeaspectsofMs.Rand'sphilosophythatarenotcoveredinthebook
atall,todiscusssomeofthepurelypsychologicalimplicationsandapplicationsofobjectivism,andtoorganize
ourknowledgeofthesubjectintoanintegratedstructuresothatwecanseehowthevariousconcepts
interrelate,whatconclusionsproceedfromwhatpremises,andwhatconstitutestheproofofourvarious
principles.
Onedoesnotknowaphilosophyifoneknowsmerelyitsconclusionsbutnotthereasoningthatledtothem.
Evenwhentheideasoneacceptsaretrue,toacceptabodyofconclusionswithoutunderstandingtheproofs
thatvalidatethemistoembracedogma,nottoholdaphilosophy.Tobeanobjectivistonfaithisworsethana
contradictioninterms.
Thepurposeofphilosophyistoprovidemanwithanintegratedviewofexistenceofhisownnatureandofhis
relationshiptotheworldinwhichhelives.Philosophyisthesciencethatdealswithman'srelationshipto
existence.Thefivebasicbranchesofphilosophyaremetaphysics,epistemology,ethics,politics,andaesthetics.
Metaphysicsdealswiththefundamentalnatureofexistence.Itdefinesthosebasicprincipleswhicharetrueof
everythingthatexistsasdistinguishedfromspecialsciences,whichstudyspecificparticularfields,suchas
physics,whichstudiesmatterandenergy,biology,whichstudieslivingorganisms,mathematics,whichstudies
quantity,andsoforth.
Theprinciplethatthatwhichisiswhatitisindependentofanyperceiverisametaphysicalone.Thelawof
causality,theprinciplethateveryeventhasacause,issimilarlymetaphysical.Bymetaphysical,wemean
pertainingtoexistence,toreality,tothenatureofthings.
Epistemologydealswiththenatureandmeansofhumanknowledge.Itisconcernedwithsuchquestionsas,
whatistheroleofsenseperceptionintheacquisitionofknowledge?Iscertaintypossibletoman?Howdoes
manformandvalidatehisconcepts?Whatisproof?
Thatthematerialprovidedbyman'ssensesistheultimatesourceofallhumanknowledgeorthat
contradictionsinone'sthinkingconstituteproofofanerrorareepistemologicalprinciples.Ethicsisconcerned
withdiscoveringandfindingacodeofvaluestoguideman'sactionsandchoices,theactionsandchoicesthat
determinethepurposeandcourseofman'slife.Ethicsasksuchquestionsas,bywhatstandardsshouldman
choosehisvalues?Forwhatpurposeshouldmanlive?Howshouldmendealwithoneanother?
Politicsdealswiththeprinciples,purposes,andorganizationofsocialsystems.Itisconcernedwithsuch
questionsas,whatistheproperrelationofgovernmenttotheindividual?Isthepowerofgovernmentlimited?
Doesmanpossessrights?Whatissuesareproperlythesubjectoflegislation?
Aestheticsdealswiththenatureofart.Itisconcernedwithsuchquestionsas,whatarethecriteriaofgoodand
badart?Whatistheroleofartinman'slife?Onecannotdefineacodeofethicsandanswerthequestion,what
actionsarerightorwrongforman,untilonehasansweredthequestion,whatisthenatureoftheuniversein
whichmanlives,andbywhatmeansdoesheknowit?Thatis,withoutametaphysicsandanepistemology.
Politicsisderivedfromethics.Onecannotanswerthequestion,whatsocialsystemisproperforman,untilone
hasansweredthequestion,whatactionsarerightorwrongforman?Aestheticsisderivedfrommetaphysics,
epistemology,andethics.Allthreearerequiredtoanswerthequestion,whatisthenatureofartanditsvalueto
man?
Togiveasimpleillustrationofthedependenceofethicsonmetaphysicsandepistemology,ifthenatureofthe
universeweresuchthatmencouldobtainanythinghewantedorneededmerelybywishingforit,
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productivenesswouldnotberegardedasavirtueastheobjectivistethicsholdsittobe.Andifthenatureof
man'sconsciousnessweresuchthananyknowledgeherequiredcouldbeobtainedmerelybyconsultinghis
feelings,thinkingwouldnotberegardedasavirtue,astheobjectivistethicsholdsittobe.
Thebriefeststatementofwhatmetaphysics,epistemology,andethicsencompassandofhowtheyrelatetoone
anotheriscontainedinthreeshortquestions.Whatexists?Howdoyouknow?Sowhat?Manypeoplenaively
believethatphilosophyissomevague,abstract,esotericsubjectwhichhasnothingtodowiththeiractuallife.
Theybelievethatphilosophyistheproblemsexclusivelyofacademicscholars,requiringyearsofspecialstudy,
somethingontheorderofhighermathematics,onlylesspractical.
Theybelievethattheydon'tholdanyphilosophicalconvictionsandthatinfactthereisnonecessitytohold
them.Ifanyofyoushareanypartofthisbelief,Isuggestthatyoucheckyourpremises.Menhavenochoice
aboutthefactthattheydoholdaphilosophyoflife.Theironlychoiceiswhethertheyknowitornot,whether
theirphilosophyisheldconsciouslyorsubconsciously,whethertheirphilosophyistrueorfalse.
Itistruethatmostmendonotchoosetheirphilosophicalconvictionsconsciouslybyalogicalprocessof
thought,bygatheringevidence,judgingit,anddrawingrationalconclusions.Theygettheirphilosophical
beliefsforthemostpartfromthecultureinwhichtheylive.Thatis,fromthekindofideas,values,customs,
prejudices,catchphrases,ortraditionswhichareprevalentaroundthemandwhichtheyhearmostoften.
Theyaccepttheirideasnotbythinkingbutbydefault,byosmosisfromtheculturalatmosphere.Theydonot
judgewhethertheseideasaretrueorfalse,rightorwrong.Theydonotaskwheretheseideascomefrom.They
donotinquireabouttheoriginortheoriginatorsofthedoctrinestowhichtheysurrenderofthejobofdirecting
theirlives.
Ioncemetabusinessmanwhowasrathersocialisticallyinclined,andIbecameengagedinanargumentabout
freeenterpriseversuscollectivism.Themanwassemiilliterateandaggressivelyantiintellectual.Hedeclared
thathehadnointerestinphilosophy,thatalltheorieswerenonsense,andthatabstractideashadnothingtodo
withactuallife.
ThenheproceededtotellmethateverythingIwassayingmighthavebeentrueinthe19thcentury,butafter
all,wearelivinginthe20thcentury.Andwhatwastrueyesterdayisnottruetoday.Everythingchanges.
Nothingstandsstill.Thereisnosuchthingasafixedpermanentreality.Thereisonlyconstantchange.
HedidnotknowthathewasofferingametaphysicalviewofrealityfirstpromulgatedinWesterncivilization
2,500yearsagobyaphilosophernamedHeraclitus,whotaughtittoHegel,whotaughtittoJohnDewey,who
taughtittohisstudents,whotaughtittothewritersofnewspapereditorials,whotaughtittothecomicstrips,
whotaughtittothisgentleman.Ishouldliketosuggestthatthisisnotthebestwaytoacquireone's
philosophicalconvictions.
Toappreciatethemannerinwhichphilosophicalissuestouchourlivesdailyandinescapably,considerthe
followingexample.Supposethatyouarehavinganargumentwithapersonwhodescribeshimselfasaliberal.
SupposeyoustatethatitisimpropertoattendtheperformancesofthevisitingSovietballetbecauseoneshould
notgiveanyformofspiritualsanctionorfinancialsupporttoadictatorship.
Theliberalanswers,you'rewrong.Arthasnothingtodowithpolitics.Yousay,artexpressesvalues,anditwas
valuesI'mconcernedwith.Idonotservethembyhelpingtosupportadictatorship.Nowyouaretouchingon
anissueofaesthetics.Theliberalsays,no,arttranscendsallothervaluesandspeaksalanguagecommontoall
ofhumanity.
Youask,whatlanguage?Heanswers,besides,Idon'tseewhyyoucallSovietRussiaadictatorship.Yousay,
becauseitisacountrywhereindividualrightsarenotrecognizedandmenareruledbybruteforce.Nowyou
aredealingwithanissueofpolitics.Theliberalsays,buteverybodyknowsthatindividualrightshavetobe
sacrificedtothewelfareofsocietyasawhole.
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Youask,why?Heanswers,mancan'tlivejustforhimself.Theonlymoraljustificationofhislifeisserviceto
others.Nowyouaredealingwithanissueofethics.Youask,why?Heanswers,ifyoudonotknowthatself
sacrificeisthehighestmoralduty,youareselfishmonster.Yousay,no,Ididnotknowthat.Howdoyouknow
it?
Heanswers,Ifeelit.Everydecentmanfeelsit.Don'tyou?Yousay,noIdon't,andfeelingsarenotknowledge.
Youarenowdealingwithanissueofepistemology.Theliberalsays,knowledge?Whatisknowledge?
Everythingisrelative.Mancanbecertainofnothing.Yousay,reasonisman'smeansofknowledge.Heasks,
whatisreason?Youanswer,reasonistheabilitytoperceiveandunderstandthefactsofreality.Hesays,that's
justyouropinion.Therearenofacts.WhatisafacttoyoumaynotbeafacttotheRussians.
Andhereyouendup.Youendupwithanissueofmetaphysics.Youendupwhereproperlyyoushouldhave
started,becausemetaphysics,one'sviewofthenatureofreality,isthebaseofeverythought,feeling,and
actiononman,explicitlyorimplicitly,consciouslyorsubconsciously.
Youcantransposethepatternofthisargumenttoanyargumentyouhaveeverenteredonanysubject.And
althoughthelineofdebatemaynotalwaysbesobriefandsoclearcut,althoughtherewillbemanymore
detours,evasions,andsideissues,youwillfindthateverymajorargumentamongmen,everydebateor
dissensionwillultimatelyresolveitselfintoanissueofethics,epistemologyandmetaphysics,atwhichpoint
mostmenwillstoparguingandgiveupinconfusion,inbewilderment,inhelplessangerorfrustrationandwill
decidethatcommunicationwithothermenisuseless,thatthinkingisuseless,thatphilosophyisuseless.
Theywilldecideitonthepremisethattheyarethusescapingfromphilosophy.Butobservethatnoescapeis
possible.Bygivingup,theyhaveimplicitlyacceptedandgivenintotheworstofallphilosophicaldoctrines,
thatman'smindisimpotent,thatthinkingisfutile,thatknowledgeisimpossible,thatrealityisunknowable.
Now,letmegiveyouanexampleofwhatwillhappentothemanwhohasgivenuporneveracquiredan
interestinphilosophy.Supposethatsuchamanfallsdeeplyinloveandonedayhasaquarrelwithhis
sweetheart.Hewalksoutonherangrily,declaringthathe'llneverbeback,thencomeshome.Thenhisanger
ebbsandvanishes,andthenheisleftalonewiththemeaningofwhathasoccurred.
Hefeelsdesperatelyunhappy,andhedoesnotknowwhattodo.Herealizesthathecannotrememberthe
cause,thestart,ortheprogressionofthequarrel.Hemayrememberthegeneralsubject,buthedoesnotknow
bywhatstepsthedisagreementgrewintoabreak.Hedoesnotknowwhetherhehadpresentedhissideofit
clearly,norwhetherhehadunderstoodwhatthegirlwassaying.
Heattemptstoreviewthequarrel,butthegrey,heavy,hopelessfeelingparalyzeshismind.Hedoesnotattempt
toidentifythenatureofthefeeling.Heknowsonlythatitamountstothewords,what'stheuse?Hedoesnot
askhimselfthesourceofthefeeling.Hedoesnotknowthatitcomesfromaphilosophicalpremise
subconsciouslyacceptedlongago,thepremisethatthinkingisfutileandthatcommunicationwithmenis
impossible.
Hehasneverheardthewordepistemology.Nevertheless,hehasformedaconvictionaboutit,aconviction
whichhedoesnotknowhowtocorrectbutwhichisnowdetermininghisactions.Hefeelsthatheoughttotry
topatchupthequarrel,thatheoughttocallhissweetheart,talkthingsovercalmlyandreachanunderstanding.
Hefeelsadesperatedesiretodoso,butanotherfeelingstopshim,adim,uglyfeelingthathasatingeof
somethingresemblingshameorguilt.Hedoesnotattempttoidentifythenatureofthefeeling.Heknowsonly
thatitamountstothewords,amanoughttohavehispride.Hedoesnotaskhimselfwhatisprideandweather
prideisachievedbyrefusingtoretractorcorrectone'sownirrationalstatementsandwhetherprideconsistsof
givingupthehappinessofone'slifetimewithoutknowingwhyorifithadtobegivenup.
Allthesearemoralquestions,andhehasneverbeeninterestedinmoralitynorinforminganyconsciousmoral
convictions.Hefeelsamoment'sviolentdespairatthesuddenthoughtthatheisgivinguphishappiness,that
hewillneverfinditwithanyotherwoman.Heleapstoreachforthetelephonetocallhissweetheart,butthen
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hishanddrops,andheshrugsandreachesforadrinkinstead.Heispromptedbyafeelinghecannotbearto
experienceforlong.
Itisafeelingthatcomesfromallthedisappointmentshehadeverencounteredandhadnevertriedtoanalyze,
fromthetimehismotherdidnotbuyhimthebicycleshehadpromised,totheteacherwhogavehimalower
gradethanhedeserved,tothefriendwhowasafraidtotakehissideinaquarrelwitholderschoolmates,tothe
firstgirlhehadeverkissedwhodesertedhimforaboyhedespised,totheexaminationwhichhefailedtopass,
tothecontestwhichhefailedtowin,totheemployerwhorefusedtogivehimajobhewanted.
Allofthissummedupsomehowinasentencehehadheardorreadsomewhereandhadtriedforyearsnotto
thinkabout.HappinessisimpossibletomanonEarth.No,hehadneverheardofmetaphysics.No,hedidnot
callthegirl.Andastothegirl,well,projecttheidenticalemotionaltortureraginganddyinginhermindafter
thatquarrel,identicalbutforafewchangesofdetails,suchasagirloughttohaveherpridebeingfollowedby
theadditionof,nonicegirleverrunsafteraman.
Suchisthemannerinwhichthesetwohumanbeingspartedandneversaweachotheragainandneverfound
anyromantichappinessfortherestoftheirlives.Suchisthemannerinwhichcountlesshumantragediesoccur.
Andsuchisthemethodofmakingcrucialdecisionswhichwrecksthelivesofcountlessmillionsofmen.
Justasanindividualmancanbedestroyedbythelackofarationalphilosophy,socanasocietyoraculture.
Whenonelooksattheworldtoday,oneseesthatitistornbyprofoundconflicts.Politically,theseconflicts
centerontheclashofcapitalismandcommunism.Ormoreabstractly,ofindividualismversuscollectivism.
AynRandhasshowninTheFountainheadthattheethicalormoralrootofthisclashistheissueofegoism
versusaltruism,oftheprinciplethatmanhastherighttoexistforhisownsakeversustheclaimthatthe
purposeandjustificationofman'sexistenceisservicetoothers.ShehasshowninAtlasShruggedthatbeneath
thepoliticalandtheethicalclashisastillmorefundamentalconflict,reasonversusmysticism.
Toquoteoncemorefrom"WhoWasAynRand,"quote,"Intheworldofthepresent,wearetoldbyourleading
philosophersandintellectualsthatfactualcertaintyisimpossible,thatthecontentsofmen'smindneedbearno
necessarilyrelationshiptothefactsofreality,thattheconceptoffactsofrealityisanoldfashioned
superstition,thatrealityismereappearance,thatmencanknownothing,thattofeeluncertainasone'schronic
stateistheinsigniaofenlightenedintellectuality.
Wearetoldthatpersonalhappiness,selfinterest,andtheprofitmotiveareignoble,thatmanmustlivefor
others,thatthecompetentmustexistforthesakeoftheuncompetent,thatthosewhosufferorareinneedhave
firstclaimonthelives[?andenmity?]ofallthemenaroundthem,thattheirsistherightsupersedingallother
rights,thatman'smindandeffortarethepropertyofthecommunity,ofthenation,oftheglobe.
Wearetoldthatnoneofthisisdemonstrableinreasonbutthatmoralityisoutsidetheprovinceandjudgment
ofreason.Wearetoldbytheologiansandphilosophersalike,byNiebuhrandby[INAUDIBLE],byTillichand
byRussell,byBrunnerandbyCarnap,by[?Bouabre?]andbyReichenbachthatreasoncannotprovideman
withacodeofvalues.Reasondealsonlywithmeansnotwithends.
Ethics,wearetold,isamatteroffaithandfeelings.Andthecollectivefaithofmankind,theconsensusofits
noblestfeelings,hasrevealedthestandardbywhichgoodandevilaretobejudged.Thegoodisthatwhichis
motivatedbyconcernfortheinterestsofothers.Theevilisthatwhichismotivatedbyconcernfortheinterest
ofself.
Andourpoliticalleadersareputtingtheseprinciplesintoactionbymovingtowardthesocietyinwhichself
interestisforbidden,inwhichprofitisimpossible,inwhichnomanispermittedtoexistforhisownsake,and
allaresacrificedtoall.Thatis,towardthesocietyofcollectivism,towardthetotalitarianstate,"closequote.
Itisonmetaphysicsandepistemologyontheirviewsofrealityandofhumanknowledgethatcivilizations
standorfall.Tounderstandinwhatwaythisistrue,letusreviewbrieflytheroleofreasoninthedevelopment
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ofWesterncivilization.
Nomatterwhattheircomplexitiesandtheirsuperficialdifferences,allphilosophicalsystemsfallintooneor
theotheroftwocategories,thosewhichholdinmetaphysicsthatrealityisastable,objectiveabsoluteandin
epistemologythatman'smindcanknowit.Andthosewhichholdinmetaphysicsthatrealityasperceivedby
manisanindeterminate,unknowableillusion.Andinepistemologythatman'smindisimpotent.
ThemostillustriousexponentofthefirstcategoryisAristotle,ofthesecondPlato.Ithasbeensaidthatevery
philosopherandeverymaniseitheranAristotelianoraPlatonist.Theissuecanbestatedinanotherway,
reasonversusmysticism.
IntheentirehistoryofWesterncivilization,therewereonlythreeperiodswhenthepredominantschoolof
thoughtpermeatinganddirectingtheculturewasaphilosophyofreason,ancientGreece,theRenaissance,the
19thcentury.Thisisnottosaythatreasonhadwonatotalvictoryinthoseperiods,farfromit.
Thereweredisastrouserrors,confusions,andcontradictionsinthetheoriesofthebestadvocatesofreasonin
thosetimes.Itistosayonlythatatthosetimes,culturewasdominatedbytheconvictionthatrealityisastable
absolute,thatman'smindcanknowit,andthatreasonisman'stoolofknowledge.Reason,notfaith,instinct,
intuition,orrevelation.
Philosophyitselfwastheproductofthatfirstgreatperiodinhumanhistory,ancientGreece.Philosophyasa
sciencedealingwiththenatureofrealityasanintegratedviewofthewholeofexistencewasborninGreecein
thesixthcenturyBCinanerawhenpoliticalunresthadcreatedacomparativedegreeoffreedomandthe
primordialstrangleholdofmysticismhadrelaxedsufficientlytoallowmenforthefirsttimetotakean
unclouded,unfrightenedlookattheuniversearoundthem.
Uptothattime,anyquestionsonthenatureoftheuniverseandofman'splaceinithadbeentheexclusive
province,themonopolyofreligion,whichmeantthatsuchquestionswerenottobeasked.Thevarious
religionsofthevarioustribesornationsprovidedmenwithcollectionsoflegendsormythologiespurportingto
explainthenatureandoriginoftheuniverseinplaceofmetaphysics.
Andinplaceofepistemologydemandedofmen'sconsciousnessthepracticeoffaith.Faithmeansacceptance
withoutevidenceorproof.Whenman'sreasonisplacedinthepositionofamenialservantpermittedtostudy
theproblemsofdiggingwellsortaminghorsesbutforbiddentoventureintoanyfundamentalsortodirectthe
courseofhumanlife,theresultiscenturyaftercenturyofstagnationthatleavesnothingbehindbutrecordsof
sufferingandnightmarebrutality.
AncientGreeceislikeastartling,magnificentflareinthedarknessoftheages,aflarewhoserays2and1/2
thousandyearslaterarestilllightingourexistencetoday.ThatflarewasignitedinthecityofMiletusbyaman
whodecidedtoask,whatisthenatureoftheuniverse?Andtoansweritbymeansofreason.Hisnamewas
Thales,andheisacknowledgedasthefatherofWesternphilosophy.
Theenormousrevolutionarysignificanceofhisachievementwasnotinitscontentbutinitsmethod.Whathe
accomplishedwasanepistemologicalrevolution.Hisattemptimpliedthatman'smindwascompetenttodeal
withthewholeoftheuniverse,withalltheproblemsofman'sexistence,andthereasonwasman'skeytothe
solutionofallproblems.
Inrecordedhistory,itwasthefirstattempttoproclaimthevalidityandefficacyofman'sconsciousness.That
thespecificmetaphysicaltheoriesofThalesandofhisfollowersintheMilesianSchoolofphilosophywere
naiveandcrudelyprimitiveisn'timportant.Theywerethefirstfalteringsteps.Whatisimportantisthatman
waslearningtowalkupright.
Theresultofthisepistemologicalrevolutionwasthatbrilliantperiodwhichisknownastheclassicalperiodof
Greece.YouhaveallheardoftheimportanceofancientGreecetoWesterncivilization.Whatismeantby
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ancientGreeceinthiscontextisaverybriefperiodofabout200years.Butthatbriefperiodthrewmankind
forwardfurtherthanalltheprecedingcenturieshaddone.
Whilemenhadbeengatheringknowledgedropbydropsothatittookgenerationstodiscoversome
improvementincartingstonesorbuildingchariots,ancientGreecewaslikeatorrentspreadingforthsuch
wealthofknowledgethatitsconsequenceswerenotexhaustedtothisday.
Thatbriefperiodpresentedsuchaburstofcreativeenergy,somanymenofgenius,somanyfundamental
achievementsinphilosophy,inscience,inartandliterature,thatwhenonelooksatitacrossthecenturies,it
seemsmorefantasticthantheAtlantisofAtlasShruggedifanyofyouthoughtofitasfantastic.
WhenonelooksatancientGreece,itappearsasifmankindhadbeenaraceofcrawlingpygmiesthatturned
intogiantsfortwocenturies,thenshrankbackintopygmiesagain.Butreasondidnotwinafullvictoryin
ancientGreece.Theadvocatesofmysticismfoughtitfromthestart.Theyfoughtitthenasnowbymeansof
perversionandsubversion,thatisbyattemptingtousereasonagainstitself.
Allthetricks,thegimmicks,thesophistries,theevasions,theequivocationswhichonehearstodayin
universityclassroomswereheardandoriginatedinancientGreece.Theuseofreasontoprovethatreasonis
impotentorthatitislimitedorthatitleadstocontradictionsorthatitgivesusnothingbutprobability,et
cetera,etcetera.
Thereweremanyvariationsonthesametheme.Themostfamousvariationwasdevisedbythegreatestofthe
philosophicalmysticsofthatperiod,Plato.Inbriefestessence,Plato'smetaphysicsandepistemologyareas
follows.Thematerialrealitywhichweperceivebymeansofoursensesissemiunreal.Itisonlyanillusion,an
imperfectreflectionofanotherhigherreality.
Onlyafewamongmen,aspecialelite,canperceivethishigherreality,andtheycanperceiveitonlybymeans
ofaflashofmysticalinsightorillumination,whichtranscendsreason,thusprovidingthemwithasuperior
kindofknowledge.
Plato'sinfluencestretchesthroughthecenturiesdowntothepresentday.Allsubsequentmysticsbigorsmall
havehadlittletoofferinessencebutvariationsonPlato'ssystem.Platohimselfdidnotoriginateallofhis
theories.HewasthetransmissionbeltbywhichOrientalmysticisminfiltratedintoWesternculture.ButPlato
wasthefirsttobuildacompletephilosophicalsystemoratleastthefirstwhoserecordhasbeenpreserved.
ThegreatestphilosopherofancientGreeceandofallthecenturiesthatfollowedwasAristotle.Hewasthefirst
andonlythinkerwhodeclaredthatrealityisrealandthatman'sconsciousnessisconscious,whichmeansthat
thereisonlyonereality,theonethatmanperceives,thatman'sconsciousnessisvalid,thatreasonisman's
exclusivetoolofknowledge,andthatthetaskofreasonistheperceptionofreality.
Itisimpossibletopresentbrieflythescope,themagnitude,theoriginality,andtheinexhaustiblesignificanceof
Aristotle'sachievements.IfIweretonameonlyoneofthem,itwouldbesufficienttosaythathewasthefather
ofthescienceoflogic.Hewasthemanresponsiblefortheconceptofthelawofidentity,theonebasic
principlewhichseparatesathinkerfromamystic,acivilizedmanfromasavage,asanemanfroma
schizophrenic,thebasicprinciplewithoutwhichnothinking,noknowledge,andnocultureispossible.
Iwilldiscussthelawofidentitylaterindetail.ForthemomentIwillstateonlythateveryattackonreason
fromanyquarter,ancientormodern,everyattempttoundercutorsubvertman'smindstartswithandaimsat
anescapefromthelawofidentity.
Bydefiningthelawsoflogic,Aristotlelaidthefoundationforallscientificknowledge.Hedidfundamental
workonalmosteveryscience.Heisoftenreferredtoasthefirstscientist.Andatthebaseofmanyofour
modernsciences,youwillfindhistreatises.Thinkingisnotanactivitythatmenlearnbyinstinct.Aristotle
taughtmankindhowtothink.
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Itistrue,ofcourse,thatmendidthinkbeforehistime.Buttheydidnotknowthenature,therules,theproper
methods,orthevalueoftheirownmentalactivity.Aristotlewasthefirstmanwhoundertooktothinkabout
thinking,toidentifyandtomakeexplicitwhathadbeenpracticedonlybyimplication.Thatwhichmendonot
knowconsciouslyisnotintheircontrol.Aristotlegavethemcontroloverthepoweroftheirownmind.
Ifyouwishtothinksymbolicallyandtoprojectmankindashavingafather,thenIwouldsaythatAristotlewas
thefatherofthehumanraceasdistinguishedfromtheprehumanandprerational.Aristotle'sphilosophical
systemisfarfromperfect.Ishouldliketostatemostemphaticallythatitcontainsagreatmanyflaws,errors,
andpuzzlingcontradictions.
Butrememberthataphilosophymustalwaysbejudgedbyitsfundamentals,byitsbasicviewofrealityandits
basicviewofknowledge.Thesewilldeterminethenatureofaphilosophy'sinfluenceandconsequences.
FromthetimeofancientGreece,theintellectualhistoryoftheWesternworldhasbeen,ineffect,aduel
betweentwomen,AristotleandPlato.Someperiodsweredominatedbyone,somebytheother.Youwillsee
theconsequences.TheimmediateconsequenceofthegreatageofGreecewastheeraofRome,whichwaslike
asteadyenlightened,civilizedcurrentfedbythemotorbehindit.
RomanculturewasonlyanextensionandelaborationofthebasecreatedbyGreece.Andalthoughtherewere
individualmenofgreatnessandnoteworthyachievementsinRomanhistory,therewerenofundamentalepic
makinginnovations.Intellectually,RomewasridingonthepowerofGreece.
WhatRomecollapsed,underminedbytwoelementswhichalwaysgotogethermysticismandstatismorfaith
andforcetheculturalpicturechanged.ThecollapseofRomeinthefifthcenturyADwastherelapseof
mankindintosavagery.Whatfollowedwasaperiodofapproximately10centurieseloquentlyknownasthe
DarkAgesandtheMiddleAges.Itisnotnecessarytogointodetailsaboutthestateofhumanknowledgeand
humanexistenceduringthosecenturies.
Ifyouwishtogetaclearsenseofit,takealookatsomephotographsoftheobjectsstillpreservedinmuseums
whichwereinstrumentsoftorture,suchastherackortheironmaiden.Thenremindyourselfthatthesewere
notthepossessionsofsomecriminalsadistbutthelegalinstrumentslegallyemployedbythecourtsofjustice.
AndthenremindyourselfthatthosecenturiesweretheoneperiodofthehistoryofWesterncivilizationruled
fully,totally,andexclusivelybymysticism.
Therulingpowerofmedievalculturewasreligion.Itcontrolledeveryactivityandeveryaspectofhumanlife.
Philosophystillexisted,butitwasregardedasthehandmaidenoftheology.Thephilosophicalideaswell
suitedtothatposition,theonesthatexercisedthestrongestinfluenceonallthethinkersofthatperiodwere
Plato'sviatheNeoplatonists,suchasPlotinus,whoconstructedthemetaphysicsconsistingnotoftwobutof
fourrealities.
Duringthegreaterpartofmedievalhistoryduringaspanofabouteightcenturies,theworksandideasof
AristotlewerealmostentirelylosttoWesterncivilization.Theywereunknowntothethinkersandscholarsof
Europe.TheoriginalshadbeenburnedinthefireofaGreatLibraryofAlexandria,andnothingbutsome
fragmentshadpenetratedintotheeightcenturieslongnightofmankind.
TheintellectualleaderandrulingphilosopheroftheDarkAgeswasAugustine,fourth,fifthcenturyAD.
AugustinewasaPlatonistandassuch,hesplittheuniverseintwoanddamnedthisearthaltogether.Thegood,
accordingtohim,wastobefoundinanotherrealityinheaven.
Thisearthwasevil.Manwas,quote,"crookedandsordid,bespottedandulcerous,"closequote.Thepursuitof
anyhappinessonearthwasdepraved.Astoreasonandknowledge,well,Iwillquoteapassagefrom
Augustine'sConfessionswhichsumsuphispositionquiteclearly.Afterdenouncingallthepleasuresofthe
flesh,hewritesasfollows,quote.

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"Tothisisaddedanotherformoftemptationmoremanifoldlydangerous.Forbesidestheconcupiscenceofthe
flesh,whichconsistsinthedelightofallsensesandpleasures,thesoulhas,throughthesamesensesofthe
body,acertainvainandcuriousdesireveiledunderthetitleofknowledgeandlearning,theseatwhereofbeing
intheappetiteofknowledgeandsightbeingthesensechieflyusedforattainingknowledge,itisindivine
languagecalledthelustoftheeyes,"closequote.
Ifthequestforknowledgeisalust,thennoerainhistorywasaschasteasthatperiod.Therewasnosightto
polluteitorreasonormindorscienceorprogress.Onceagain,asinthepreGreciancenturies,mencrawled
fromgenerationtogenerationmakingtorturouslyminuteimprovementsintheirstoreofknowledgewhilethe
allegedphilosophersweredebatingsuchtopicsaswhetheramousethatslipsintoachurchandhappenstoeat
theEucharisticbreaddoesordoesnotachievecommunionwithGodandwhilethemassesofthepeoplewere
existinginthestatenowrecognizedasmassneurosis,masshysteria.
Inthe13thcentury,EuroperediscoveredAristotle.SomeofAristotle'sworkshadbeenpreservedbytheArabs
andweremadeavailabletoEuropeanscholarsinthewakeoftheCrusades.Parentheticallytothisday,whatwe
possessisestimatedtobeonlyaboutonequarterofthetotalofAristotle'sworks.Therestislost.
Inthe13thcentury,aGermanphilosopherAlbertusMagnuswroteamonumentalworkcontainingeverything
onandbyAristotlethathecouldfind.Inthesamecentury,apupilofAlbertusMagnuscreatedthefirst
comprehensivesystemofphilosophysincethegreatageofGreece.Andhecreateditonapredominantly
Aristotelianbasis.HewasthegreatestintellectualgiantoftheMiddleAgesandthemanwhoendedthem.His
namewasThomasAquinas.
WhatAquinasattemptedwasasynthesisofreligionandphilosophy.Itwasnot,however,whatheachieved.
Declaringthatfaithandreasondidnothavetoclash,hestatedineffectthatthemindisthegiftofGod,and
thereforeitisproperformantouseittothefullestextentofhumancapacity.Itispermissibleeventoattempt
toprovethetenetsofreligionbymeansofreason.
Andastheproperrulesfortheuseofreason,AquinasacceptedandbroughtbackAristotle'sepistemology.If
Aquinasintendedtostrengthenreligiousfaith,heachievedtheopposite.Aristotle'sthinkingwastheatom
bombthatblastedthedarknessoftheMiddleAgesandendedthereignoffaith.Whatlayattheendoftheroad
clearedbythatexplosionwastheRenaissance.
HistoriansarestillarguingaboutthecausesoftheRenaissance.Itiscertainthatinanymajorhistorical
upheavalmanyfactorshavetobeinvolved.Isalsocertainthatnomovementinhistoryhaseversucceeded
withoutaphilosophicalbase,withoutasystemofideastogiveitcoherence,direction,andpurpose.No
individualmanandnogroupofmencansustainanylongrangeactionwithoutsomeknowledgetoguide,
justify,andvalidatetheirdecisions.
ThehistoryoftheMiddleAgesisfullofmassuprisings,ofblind,desperaterebellionsagainstthenightmare
conditionsofexistencethatendedinbloodydefeats.Onedoesnotfighttheirrationalbymeansofthe
irrational.Tosucceed,theRenaissancehadtohaveanintellectualbase.ThatbasewasprovidedbyAristotle
viaThomasAquinas.
Whatmillionsofwarringfeudalbaronsandclubbrandishingriotingserfscouldnotaccomplish,Aristotle
accomplished17centuriesafterhisdeath.Aristotle,intheformerfragmentsandremnantsthatonequarterof
hispower,furtherdilutedanddistortedbyAquinas'theology,butstillAristotle.Alittlereasongoesalongway.
Thefullresultoftheimpactdidnotbecomeapparenttillacenturylater.Itisinthelate14thcenturythatthe
philosophicalideasofthe13thtookforminpracticalreality.Culturally,thelate14thcenturyisthestartofthe
Renaissancewiththe13thservingasanoverture.Youwillobservethesamephenomenonthroughouthistory.
Justasinthelightofamananideamustbegraspedbyhismindbeforeitcanbetranslatedintoaction,soin
thehistoryofanationaphilosophymustbeformulatedbyitsthinkersbeforeitcaninfiltratethevarious
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aspectsofacultureandtakeformandaction.Everyageistheactualizationofthethinkingofthepreceding
period.
TheRenaissancewasanothermiraculouserainhumanhistory,miraculousinthesuddenprodigalityofhuman
achievement,inthenumberandstatureofmenofgeniusineverybranchofendeavor.Againasifthehuman
racehadturnedintoaspeciesofgiants,againasifanirresistibletorrenthadbrokenloose,strippingawayevery
barriertohumangrowth.
Politically,itbrokethefeudalsystemandgavetomenaperiodofcomparativefreedom,ifonlybydefault,if
onlybyvirtueofchaos.Religiously,itbrokethemonopolyoftheCatholicchurchthroughtheriseofthe
Protestantchurches.Culturally,itbrokethestrangleholdofmysticism.
WhatwasthesloganoftheRenaissance?Therighttosee.Therighttothatlustoftheeyesdenouncedby
Augustine.Inphilosophy,therighttostudytheuniverseandman'splaceinit.Inscience,therighttostudy
physicalnaturewiththerebirthofsuchforbiddensciencesasanatomyandastronomy.Inart,therighttostudy
thisearthandtodepictthefullrealityofthehumanbodyofnature,ofperspective,ofthreedimensionalityas
perceivedbyoursenses.
Butwhilemenwererediscovering,reclaiming,andremakingtheearth,philosopherswererejectingit.
Neoplatonismwasagainrising.ThehistoryofphilosophysincetheRenaissanceisthehistoryofalongretreat
fromtheresponsibilityofreason.Philosopherswerestrugglingtoreconcilereasonwithmanyofthetenetsof
religions,suchasthecreedofselfsacrifice,whichcannotbedone.
Theywerestrugglingtoundercutthevalidityofmen'smindandreintroducemysticisminoneformoranother.
Butwiththespectacularachievementsofsciencegrowingbeforethem,themysticsseldomdaredtodenounce
themindexplicitly.Andthereafter,themystics'counterrevolutionpredominantlytooktheformofattackingthe
mindbymeansofthemind,ofclaimingtospeakinthenameofscience,ofseekingtoinvalidatereasoninthe
nameofreason.
Whatmademattersstillworse,manyoftheadvocatesofscienceconsideredthemselvesantiAristotelian
becauseAristotlethroughAquinashadbeenappropriatedbytheCatholicChurch,andmuchofhisscientific
writingwasupheldasreligiousdogma.Aristotlewasdenouncedbyphilosophersandscientistswhosaw
themselvesaschampionsofreason.
YetitwasAristotlewhomadetheirrevoltagainsttheauthorityofthechurchpossible,andhiswasthe
intellectualspiritthatwascarryingthemforward.Itwashewhotaughtthemtorecognizethatallofthe
universeisopentoman'sreasonandthatthereisnohigherauthoritythanman'ssovereignintellect.
ThehistoryofthepostRenaissanceworldwasanintellectualcivilwarbetweentwotrendsthatclashedand
intermingledandcontradictedeachother,mostoftenintheworksofthesameindividualphilosopher.One
trendinitsbasicspiritwasAristotelian.ItledtothephilosophersofthesocalledAgeofReason,the18th
century,totheIndustrialRevolution,tothecreationofUnitedStatesofAmerica.
TheothertrendwasPlatonist.ItledtoKant,toHegel,toMarx,toSovietRussia.NeitherancientGreecenor
theRenaissancehadcreatedapoliticaltheorytoestablishafreethereforerationalsociety.Itwasthesemi
Aristotelianphilosophersofthe17thand18thcenturieswhoformulatedthefirstpracticabletheoriesof
politicalfreedom.ThemostprominentamongthemwastheBritishphilosopherJohnLocke,whobecamethe
dominantphilosophicalinfluenceonthegroupofmenknownastheFoundingFathersofAmerica.
Reasonandfreedomarepoliticalcorollaries.Itismysticismthatneedsforceinordertocontrolaculture.Since
mysticismconsistsofarbitrarydoctrines,whichsupersederealityandaretobeacceptedwithoutproof,mystics
havenowaytoramsuchdoctrinesdownthethroatofawholesocietyexceptthroughtheuseofphysicalforce,
whichmeansthroughpoliticalenslavement.

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ThephilosophicalbattleofthepostRenaissanceworldwasreflectedinacorrespondingpoliticalbattle.At
first,themainrefugeofmysticismwasintheology.ThephilosophicaldoctrinesofsomeoftheProtestant
churchessuchasCalvinismexpoundedaviewofmanthatwouldhavemadeAugustineappearasacheerful,
benevolentloverofreason.
Theunionoffaithandforceledtocenturiesofreligiouswarswithsuchcarnagethatatonetimeathirdof
Europe'spopulationwasslaughtered.Thesewarsweremadepossiblebytheabsolutemonarchiesthatroseto
replacethefeudalsystem.ButthefullclimaxoftheRenaissancecamewiththetriumphoftheAristotelian
trendthatsweptawaythemonarchies,thereligiouswars,andmankind'sprimordialstateofsemistarved
subsistence,theIndustrialRevolution.
IfyouhavereadAtlasShrugged,youunderstandthemeaningoftheIndustrialRevolution.Thatwasasnearas
mankindhadevercometoafullreignofreasononearth.Thatwastheactofman'sliberatedmindtaking
controlofman'smaterialexistence.Lookattheresults.NewYorkCityisamonumenttothenonimpotenceof
thehumanmind.
YouallknowthattheUnitedStatesofAmericaisaphenomenonunprecedentedinthewholeofhumanhistory.
Inthebriefperiodof150years,theUnitedStatescreatedaleveloffreedom,ofprogress,ofachievement,of
wealth,ofphysicalcomfort,astandardoflivingunmatchedandunequaledbythetotalsumofmankind's
developmentuptothattime.Iflifeonearthisthestandard,itisnotnecessarytoevaluateforyoutheIndustrial
Revolution.Ihaveonlytoopenthewindowandsay,look.
ThetriumphoftheIndustrialRevolutionwasthethirdgreateraofhumanhistory,the19thcentury.Thatwas
thecenturyofgreatestfreedomeverknownonearth,thecenturyofcapitalismorasneartocapitalismasmen
haveyetcome.ThatwasthecenturythatendedtheperiodicfamineswhichusedtosweepEuropeevery20
years,killingoffthesurpluspopulationthatprecapitalisteconomiescouldnotfeed.
Thatwasthecenturythatgavemankindthelongestperiodofpeaceithaseverknown,aperiodwithoutaworld
warbetweentheendoftheNapoleonicWarsandWorldWarI,approximatelyfrom1815to1914.Thatwasthe
centurythatabolishedslaveryandserfdominthewholeofthecivilizedworld.Thatwasthecenturywhichwe
nowheardenouncedbytheneosavagesofourdaywhosneeratitasthebarbariansof1,500yearsagosneered
atthemarbleremnantsofRomeundertheirbarefeet.
Wheredidthenewbarbarianinvasioncomefrom?Fromthecloistersandtheivorytowersofmildabstract
academictheoreticalphilosophers.Whilereasonhadtakencontrolofman'smaterialexistence,mysticismwas
takingcontrolofhisspiritualorintellectuallife.Thetragicparadoxofthe19thcenturywasthatitwas
AristotelianinitsactionandPlatonistinitsthinking.
ThePlatonistandirrationalisttrendkeptgrowingandspreading,whilesuchsemiAristoteliansasdidexist
weresecondandthirdraterswhosesystemsweresofullofcompromises,contradictions,andbetrayalsof
reasonthatanyconmanoftheintellectcouldanddidblastthemapart.
ThemajorfigureofthePlatonistcounterrevolutionwasan18thcenturyGermanphilosopher,ImmanuelKant.
Kant'smetaphysicshastworealities.Hecallsthemthephenomenalandthenuminalworld.ButwhilePlato
merelyconsideredreasoninadequatetoafullperceptionofreality,Kantdisqualifiesitalltogether.
BeneathallthecomplexitiesofKant'ssystem,hiscentralepistemologicalconclusion,theonethatinfluenced
mostofthephilosopherswhofollowedhim,isthatman'sreasoncannotknowrealityasitreallyis,cannot
knowthingsinthemselves.Kant'sepistemologydeclaresineffectthatman'smindisnotatoolforperceiving
butforfakingreality.
Thatis,Kantassertsthattheknowledgewhichwegainthroughourmindisproducednotbytheevidenceof
realitybutbythemind'sownstructure,whichdistortsthatevidencesothatwecanneverhaveanyobjectively
validperceptionofreality.Truerealityisunknowable.Wecanneverknowwhatthingsareinthemselves
becausethenatureofourconsciousnessstandsintheway.Toperceive,declaresKant,istodistort.
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Needlesstosay,Kantpresenthimselfasachampionofpurereason.Butobserveinwhatmannerhewas
concedingthebasicclaimofmysticism,thatman'sreasonisimpotenttoknowtherealworldandthatthe
worldknowabletoreasonisnotreal.Alltheleadingphilosophicalschoolsoftoday,suchasthepragmatist,the
positivist,theexistentialist,aregraduatesofKant'sepistemology.
WhiletheAristoteliantrendwasachievingpoliticalfreedomformen,thePlatonistswerelayingthe
philosophicalfoundationsforthecultofthestate.RememberthatPlatoandhisRepublichadcreatedthefirst
blueprintofatotalitarianstatewhichhasservedasarchetypeandinspirationforallofhisfollowersdownthe
ages.
ThemostinfluentialamongthemwastheGermanphilosopherHegelofthelate18thearly19thcentury,a
HeracletianPlatonistwhoproclaimedthatmaterialrealityisanillusion,thatnothingexistsexceptchangeand
motionwithoutanyentitiestodothechangingandthemoving.ThissameHegelpreachedthatarigid,absolute
totalitarianstateismankind'spredestinedgoalandultimateideal.
Theworshipofthestateandthepleasfortheenslavementofmencameinthe19thcenturynotfromtheso
calledunderprivilegedmassesnorfromthecaptainsofindustrynorfromtheremnantsoffeudalaristocracybut
fromthephilosophersandfromsuchpoliticalphilosophicalriffraffasKarlMarx,AugusteComte,andsundry
apostlesofsocialism.
OneofthesetotalitarianlinesviatheGermanphilosopherFichte,whoworshippedtherace,ledinthe20th
centurytoGermanNazism.AnotherviaKarlMarxledtoRussiancommunism.Ideastaketimetopenetratea
culture.Justasthepeopleofthe19thcenturywereenjoyingthepracticaldividendsofthephilosophiesofthe
18th,sowetodayarepayingthepriceforthephilosophiesofthe19thcentury.
Nowletusturntothestateofourmoderncultureandtoobjectivism.Ifyouwishtodiagnosethestateofa
cultureinwhichyouliveandtogetsomeideaofwhatyoumayexpectofthefuture,takealookatthe
barometerwhichthroughouthistoryhasforetoldwhetherprogressorhorrorlayahead,thestatusofreasonin
thedominantphilosophiesofthetime.
TodayallthecurrentschoolsofthoughtarePlatonistKantian.Therearenoinfluentialrepresentativesof
Aristotelianism.Aristotleisalmostaslosttoourcultureasifhisworkshadvanishedinanotherbookburning.
HehasbeensurrenderedtotheologyandappropriatedbytheneoThomasts,themodernfollowersofThomas
Aquinas.Intheirdoctrines,thereislittleleftofAquinasandlessofAristotle.
Whilethefatherofreasonhasbeenkidnappedandisheldprisonerbyreligion,theallegedrepresentativesof
sciencearedeclaringthefollowing,quote,"Oneofthemostbrilliantwritersinintellectualhistory,[?Carl?][?
Decker,?]claimsthatthemostimportanteventinthisfieldinmoderntimeswastheshiftintheplaceoflogic
andscience.Themarriageoffactandreason,as[?Decker?]putsit,provedtobesomewhatirksomeinthe
19thcenturyandwasaltogetherdissolvedinthe20thcentury.
Themodern20thcenturyphysicistlivesinanatmospherewhichissosaturatedwiththeactualthatwecan
easilydowiththeminimumofthetheoretical.Wehavelongsincelearnednottobothermuchwithreasonand
logic,"closequote.ThisisfromabookentitledModernScienceandItsPhilosophybyPhilippFrank,a
prominentphysicistphilosopher.
Hereisanothervoice,quote,"Whilefullydevelopedmysticismseemstomemistaken,Iyetbelievethatby
sufficientrestraintthereisanelementofwisdomtobelearnedfromthemysticalwayoffeeling.Eventhe
cautiousandpatientinvestigationoftruthbyscience,whichseemstheveryantithesisofthemystics'swift
certainty,maybefosteredandnourishedbythatveryspiritofreverenceinwhichmysticismlivesandmoves,"
closequote.
ThisisBertrandRussell,philosopherandmathematician,inanessayentitled"MysticismandLogic."Inthe
secondcenturyAD,aphilosophernamedTertullianstatedhisviewsasfollows,quote,"AndthesonofGod
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died.Isbyallmeanstobebelievedbecauseitisobserved.Andhewasburied,thenandroseagain.Thefactis
certainbecauseitisimpossible,"closequote.
Now,youmightthinkthatthisisthementalattitudeoftheDarkAgessafelyanddistantlybehindus.Butnow
listentothis,quote,"Faithisfaith,vitalandindescribable.Hewhohasitknowswhatitis,andperhapsalsohe
whoiswithoutithassomeinklingofwhatitisinitsabsencefromaheartthatfeelsitselfdryandshriveled.
Faithcannomorebedescribedtoathoroughlyrationalmindthantheideaofcolorscanbeconveyedtoablind
man.Thusvital,indescribablefaithpartakesofthemysteryoflifeitself.Theoppositionbetweenfaithand
reasonisthatbetweenthevitalandtherational,"closequote.
No,thisisnotthesecondcentury.ThisisWilliamBarrett,professorofphilosophyatNewYorkUniversityina
bookproudlyentitledIrrationalManpublishedin1958.Anotherquotationfromthesamebook,quote,
"Irrationalismholdsthatfeelingorwillorinstinctaremorevaluableandindeedmoretruthfulthanreason,as
infacttheyare,"closequote.
Hereisanothermothervoice,quote,"Thinkingonlybeginsatthepointwherewehavecometoknowthat
reasonglorifiedforcenturiesisthemostobstinateadversaryofthinking,"closequote.ThiswassaidbyMartin
Heidegger,oneofthepillarsofexistentialism,aphilosophywhichisthelatestfashionamongmanyoftoday's
intellectuals.
TheInternationalEncyclopediaofUnifiedScience,publishedbytheUniversityofChicagoPress,containsthe
followingreferencetoOttoNeurath,oneofthefoundersofanotherfashionablephilosophy,logicalpositivism.
Quote,"Neurathevenrecommendedhalfjokinglythatanindexofprohibitedwordsshouldbesetup.Ina
monographonthefoundationsofthesocialsciences,heavoided,asheexplicitlystates,wordslikeentity,
essence,mind,matcher,reality,thing,"closequote.
WillDurant,whosebookTheStoryofPhilosophywasanationalbestseller,offeredthefollowingintellectual
guidancetothegeneralpublic.AfterdiscussingAristotle'sachievementsasalogician,Durantwrote,quote,
"Butnomaneverlivedwhocouldliftlogictoaloftystrain.Aguidetocorrectreasoningisaselevatingasa
manualofetiquette.
Wemayuseit,butithardlyspursustonobility.Noteventhebravestphilosopherwouldsingtobookoflogic
underneaththebough.OnealwaysfeelstowardslogicasVirgilbadeDantefeeltowardsthosewhohavebeen
damnedbecauseoftheircolorlessneutrality.Letusthinknomoreaboutthembutlookonceandpasson,"
closequote.
Andwhiletheneomysticintellectualsofthe20thcenturythinknomoreaboutlogicandpassoninsearchofa
boughtosingunder,thecollectoroftheirefforts,theconquerormarchingtriumphantlydowntheroadthey
havepaved,isnotlongincoming.Heannounceshimselfasfollows,quote,"WearenowattheendoftheAge
ofReason.Thepartplayedbythebourgeoisieisfinished,permanently.
Anewageofmagicinterpretationoftheworldiscoming.Wemustdistrusttheintelligenceandtheconscience
andmustplaceourtrustinourinstincts.Peoplesetusdownasenemiesofintelligence.Weare,butinamuch
deepersensethantheseconceiteddoltsofbourgeoisscientistseverdreamof,"closequote.
TheauthorofthisstatementwasAdolfHitler.Suchistheintellectualphilosophicalstateofourage.Whatare
itspracticalresults?Thatatmosphereofpanicandlethargywhichpermeatesourentireculture,anatmosphere
oftensionandstagnation,ofopencynicismandsecretterror,aworldwheremenliveunderthethreatofsplit
secondannihilationwithanHbombsuspendedovertheirheads.
Whereoneoutofevery12personsinthiscountryspendssomepartofhislifeinamentalinstitution,where
teenagesavagesarerunningamokmurderingtheirparentsoroneanotherforkickswhiletheireldersgapeata
groupofdazedbumswhoutterunintelligiblesoundsaboutthegloryofcommunionwithanotherdimension
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andwithnarcotics,forwhichsoundstheyareacclaimedasavitalnewschoolinliterature,particularlyfor
announcingthatlifeonEarthisasewer.
Whileplaywrightspresentmankindintheformofbeingswhoinhabitgarbagecans,whileactorsprojectthe
humansoulbymeansofunseeing,unfocusedeyesandavoiceofhysteriatingedmonotonythatbreaksin
ungrammaticalplaces,whilepoliticiansareproclaimingacrusadeforfreedombyimposinggreaterandgreater
controlsandfortherighttopropertybyconfiscatingit.
Whileablusteringanthropoiddeclaresthathewillburyusbecauseithasbeenscientificallyprovedthat
communismwillwin,andheisansweredbyanervousgentlemanwhodeclaresthatouridealsoffreedomrest
onourfaithinGod.Ladiesandgentlemen,thiscultureisbankrupt.
Mysticismanditsproduct,thecreedofselfsacrifice,havebroughtthecivilizedworldthroughtheblindalley
ofamoralvacuumwheretheyhavenothingfurthertoofferyoubutnucleardisintegrationfromabombplaced
intothehandsofahomicidaldipsomaniacwhoactsonhisfeelingsorwillorinstinctbyscientistswhohad
indeedlearnednottobothermuchwithreasonandlogic.
Butthereisnohistoricaldeterminism,nofatewhichdoomsmankindtoperish.Thetrendofthepresentcanbe
stopped.Thedisastercreatedbyideascanbefought,butonlybymeansofideas.Itisphilosophythatbrought
mentotheirpresentstate.Itisphilosophythatwilltakethemout.
No,itisnottoolate.Itisnevertoolatesolongasmenliveandarewillingtothink.Ifyouwishtofightfora
worldwherehumanlifewilloncemorebepossible,youmustnowunderstandwhythatbattlehastobefought
onthefieldofphilosophyandwhyithastobeginbyunderstandingandupholdingthesupremacyofreason.
Perhapsitisnowcleartoyouwhy,whenonefightsforreason,oneisfighting,toquoteJohnGalt,"forany
achievement,anyvalue,anygrandeur,anygoodness,anyjoythathadeverexistedonthisearth,"closequote.
Intheefforttoformulatearationalviewofman'srelationtoexistence,Aristotledidnotsaythelastwordin
philosophy.Hisgeniusisthathesaidthefirst.
Notonlywerethereflawsandcontradictionsinhismetaphysics,suchashisdoctrineof[INAUDIBLE].There
wasonecrucialweaknessinhissystem,anomissionwhichwasthefactormostresponsibleforhisdefeatsin
history,thelackofafullydefinedcodeofethicsormorality.Aristotle'sethicsisavague,generalized,
unprovedthereforenonobjectivesetofobservations,whichatbestgivesmansomedecentcommonsense
rulesofbehavior.Inthefieldofmoralitythisisnotenough.
ThetragedyofWesterncivilizationisthatwhilemenrejectedthetheologyofmysticism,theydidnotrejectits
ethics.Theystillclungtothecreedofsacrifice.Whatchangedwasmerelythenameofthebeneficiary.Not
Godbutsocietywastobethecollectorandrecipientsofman'ssacrifices.Moralitydirectsmen'sactions.So
longasitremainedthemonopolyofmystics,mysticismhadtowin.
InAtlasShrugged,youhaveseenthereasons,thecauses,andthemannerinwhichthemoralityofmysticism
winsanddestroystheachievementsofrationalmen.Whatobjectivismoffersyouisthatwhichwaslackingin
thehistoryofphilosophy,amoralityofreason,arationalcodeofvalueslogicallydemonstrablebasedonand
derivedfromarationalviewofexistenceandofmen.
Thisisnottheonlyphilosophicalinnovationofobjectivism,butitisonecruciallyimportantforthetranslation
ofphilosophicalideasintoactionandreality.Metaphysicsisthebaseofphilosophy,anditiswiththe
metaphysicsofobjectivismthatIwillnowstart.Iwillnametwoconcepts,andIwillaskyoutoaskyourself
whetheryouunderstandthemfully.
Iwarnyouthatyouwillprobablythinkyoudobecausetheyareverysimpleconceptsandthatmostofyouwill
soonrealizeyoudon't,becausetheyarethewidestandmostfundamentalconceptsthatmenpossess.These
twoconceptsaresomethingandnothing.RememberthatIamaskingyoutoconsiderthemintheirfullest
meaningandapplication.
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Theconceptofsomethingappliestoeveryconceptinyourmind,totheentirecontentofyourconsciousness
andtothetotalofyourknowledge,regardlessoftheamountordegreeofyourknowledge.Itisthefundamental
conceptofconsciousness.Itmarksthestartofbeingconscious.
Whenababyopenshiseyesandreceivesthisfirstsensationofsightorsound,allthathisconsciousnesscan
registeristhatheisawareofsomething.Hedoesnotknowwhatitis,andofcoursehedoesnotknowany
concepts.Butweknowthattheconceptofsomethingnamesthatfirststateandstageofhisawareness.
Thebloboflightheperceivesissomething.Thesoundhehearsissomething.Theblankethetouchesis
something.Tobeconsciousistobeconsciousofsomething.Afterthisfirststepofawareness,alltherestofthe
knowledgehemayeveracquirewillbeaprocessofdiscoveringmoreandmoreaboutwhatthatsomethingis.
Butthatitisisimplicitinhisfirstactofawareness.Abloboflightisabloboflight.Asoundisasound.To
knowwhetherthebloboflightisalamp,afire,orasunset,toknowwhetherthesoundismadebyahuman
voice,aviolin,oranexplodingbombrequiresalongprocessoflearning.Toknowwhatasomethingis
representsthenextstepsofknowledge.Butthatitis,thatitexistsisthefirststepwithoutwhichnofurther
stepsarepossible.
Implicitinthebaby'sfirstawarenessisthemostcrucialconceptofphilosophy,theconceptofexistence.Itis
withtheawarenessofexistencethatknowledgeandconsciousnessbegin.Ifthebloboflightdoesnotexist,itis
nothing.Considerthemeaningofnothing.Youareaccustomedtotheuseoftheconceptofnothingtoindicate
theabsenceofspecificthings.
Forinstance,youcansay,Ihavenothinginmypocket,meaningthatyouhavenophysicalobjectsinyour
pocket,ortheamountofmyfortuneiszero,meaningthatyouhavenomoney.Butthemetaphysicalmeaning
ofnothingisnonexistence,theliteralvoid,theblank,thezero.Nonexistencedoesnotexist.
Nothingisaconceptpertainingexclusivelytoarelation.Ithasmeaningonlyinrelationtosomethingand
denotesitsabsence.Nothingbyitselfisnothing.Ifyougraspfirmlythemeaningandthedifferenceofthese
twoconcepts,somethingandnothing,youhavegraspedthetwobroadestfundamentalsofphilosophy,
existenceandnonexistence.
Tobenothingmeansnottoexist.Toexistmeanstobesomething.Tobesomethingmeanstobesomething
specific,asdistinguishedfromtheblankofnothing.Tobesomethingspecificmeanstobeathingofacertain
kind,ofacertainnature,ofacertainidentity.Theidentityofathingisthatwhichitis.Thelawofidentity
statesthatwhichisiswhatitis.Athingisitself.AisA.
Nottopossessanidentity,nottopossessanature,nottobeanythinginparticularmeansnottobeanything,
whichmeansnottoexist.Tobeistobesomething.Thelawofidentityisanaxiom.Itistheabstractstatement
ofaselfevidenttruth.Itisgivendirectlyinimmediateawarenessorimmediateperception.Itisnotinferredor
deduced,nordoesitneedtobe.Itisknownimmediately.Itisimplicitinman'sfirstsensoryperceptionsandin
alltheknowledgemancanevergain.
Toperceivethatachairandatableexististoknowthatthechairisthechairandthetableisthetable.Tolearn
thatanelectronexistsistoknowthattheelectronisitself.Theconceptofexistenceandtheconceptofidentity,
therefore,cannotbedivorced.Tobeawareofoneistobeawareoftheother.Theycanonlyenterthemind
together.Theyareindivisibleinrealityandinconsciousness.
Toknowanythingistoknowthatthatwhichis,iswhatitis.Whenascientistasks,whatisit,heisasking,
whatisitsidentity?Whenheasks,whydidthiseventoccurorhowcanthiseventbemadetooccur,heis
asking,whatistheidentityofthefactorsthatcausedthisevent'soccurrence?ToquotefromGalt'sspeech,
existenceisidentity.Consciousnessisidentification.
Wheneveryouheartheconceptsofexistence,consciousness,oridentitybeingchallenged,rememberthatthese
conceptsarenecessarilyandinescapablycontainedandimpliedinanystatement,inanyutterance,inany
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knowledgeanymanmayclaimtopossess.Theyaretheirreduciblebaseofallhumanthinking.Anyattemptto
denythemnecessarilyentailstheiracceptanceanduse.
ThisleadsustothestatementinGalt'sspeechthatconstitutesthebaseorstartingpointofthephilosophyof
objectivism.Quote,"Existenceexists,andtheactofgraspingthatstatementimpliestwocorollaryaxioms,that
somethingexistswhichoneperceives,andthatoneexistspossessingconsciousness,consciousnessbeingthe
facultyofperceivingthatwhichexists.
Ifnothingexists,therecanbenoconsciousness.Aconsciousnesswithnothingtobeconsciousofisa
contradictioninterms.Aconsciousnessconsciousofnothingbutitselfisacontradictioninterms.Beforeit
couldidentifyitselfasconsciousness,ithadtobeconsciousofsomething.
Ifthat'swhichyouclaimtoperceivedoesnotexist,whatyoupossessisnotconsciousness.Whateverthe
degreeofyourknowledge,thesetwoexistenceandconsciousnessareaxiomsyoucannotescape.Thesetwo
aretheirreducibleprimariesimpliedinanyactionyouundertake,inanypartofyourknowledgeandinitssum.
Fromthefirstrayoflightyouperceiveatthestartofyourlifetothewidesteruditionyoumightacquireatits
end.Whetheryouknowtheshapeofapebbleofthestructureofasolarsystem,theaxiomsremainthesame,
thatitexistsandthatyouknowit,"closequote.
Aclassicalphilosophicalquestionis,howdoyouknowthattheexternalworldexists?Themeaningofthat
questionis,howdoyouknowthatanythingexistsexceptconsciousness?Towhichobjectivism'sansweris,
againquotingGalt,quote,"Ifnothingexists,therecanbenoconsciousness.Aconsciousnesswithnothingto
beconsciousofisacontradictioninterms.
Aconsciousnessconsciousofnothingbutitselfisacontradictioninterms.Beforeitcouldidentifyitselfas
consciousness,ithadtobeconsciousofsomething.Ifthatwhichyouclaimtoperceivedoesnotexist,what
youpossessisnotconsciousness,"closequote.
Andthusthequestion,howdoyouknowthattheexternalworldexiststranslatestotheselfcontradictory
absurdityofthequestion,howdoyouknowthatyouareconscious?Todenytheexistenceofanexternalworld
istodenytheexistenceofconsciousness.Butthenwhoisdoingthedenyingandbymeansofwhatfaculty?
Oragain,mysticsandneomysticscommonlydeclare,evenifanexternalworlddoesexist,mancannever
perceiveitasitreallyis.Iwilldiscussthisissueinsomedetailinlecturethree.Forthemoment,letmepoint
outthatwhenphilosophersdeclarethatmencannotperceiveexistenceasitreallyis,theyaredeclaringthat
mancannotperceiveexistence.
Existenceasitreallyisisaredundancy.Thereisnosuchthingasexistenceasitreallyisn't.Mancanperceive
existenceorhecannot.Nothirdalternativeispossible.Buttodeclarethatmancannotperceiveexistenceis
againtodeclarethatmanisnotconscious,sincethereisnothingelsetoperceiveexceptexistence.Toclaimto
havearrivedbyacomplexchainofanalysisattheconclusionthatoneisnotconsciousisscarcelyrationallyor
epistemologicallyadmissible.
Rememberthathowwelearntheidentitiesofspecificthingsandwhatwecanregardasknowledgeisa
differentquestion.Itisaquestiontowhichweshalldevoteconsiderableattention.Butthatexistenceexistsand
thatconsciousnessisconsciousareaxiomsthatcannotbeescaped.Anyattempttodosocollapsesinabsurd
selfcontradictions.
Now,themetaphysicalviewIampresentingisonethatholdsrealitytobeobjective.Realityisthatwhich
exists.Theobjectiveviewholdsthatthatwhichexistsiswhatitis.Thatitexistsindependentofany
consciousness,ofanyone'sknowledge,judgment,beliefs,hopes,wishes,orfears,andthatthefunctionof
consciousnessistoperceivereality.

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Thusrealityistheobjectofconsciousness,theobjectwhichconsciousnessperceivesandmustlearnto
perceivecorrectly.Objectivemeansindependentofconsciousness.Tosaythatathingexistsobjectivelyisto
saythatitsexistencedoesnotdependonbeingperceivedorknownbyaconsciousness.
Theprinciplethatrealityisobjectiveisacorollaryofthelawofidentity.Thingsarewhattheyare.Neither
theirexistencenortheiridentityisdeterminedbywhetherornottheyareknown,recognized,orbelieved.Ais
A.Now,whatalternativeviewofrealityispossible?Well,thereareagoodmanyphilosopherswhohold,
implicitlyratherthanexplicitly,aviewthatamountstosubjectivism.
Theymaintaininoneformoranotherthattheexistenceandnatureofrealitydependsontheconsciousnessthat
perceivesit,whichmeansthatrealitypossessesnoindependentexistenceandidentity,thatitsidentityisin
somemannerdeterminedbytheperceiver,thatthatwhichexistsisnothingspecific,whichmeansthatthe
functionofconsciousnessisnottoperceivebuttocreatereality.Thusrealityisnottheobjectbutthesubjectof
consciousness.Subjectivemeansdependentonconsciousness.
Subjectivismisametaphysicalviewthatscarcelyanyphilosophersarewillingtoendorseassuch.Theyprefer
torepudiatetheobjectiveviewwithoutcommittingthemselvestotheonlypossiblealternativeandwithout
acknowledgingthatsubjectivismistheonlypossiblealternative.
Thoseofyouwhoareacquaintedwithcontemporaryphilosophicalmovementswillappreciatehowprevalent
thistrendis.Forabriefintroductiontothesubject,IreferyoutothetitleessayofAnyRand's"FortheNew
Intellectual."
Toselectonlyoneexample,whencertainphilosophersdenythemetaphysicalstatusofthelawofidentity,
whentheydeclarethattheprincipleofidentityisnottrueoforapplicabletoreality,whentheydeclarethatto
speakofathing'sidentityismeaningless,theyaredeclaringbyimplicationthatthingspossessnofixed,
determinateidentityandthattheillusionofathing'sidentityisinsomesenseaprojectionoracreationofour
consciousness.Thismeansthatreality,theonlyrealitywecanknow,isnottheobjectbutthesubjectofour
consciousness.
Observethatthispositioncarriedtoitsfulllogicalimplicationsentailsthenegationbothofexistenceandof
consciousness.Tobeistobesomething.Tobesomethingistobesomethingspecific.Nottobesomething
specific,nottobeanythinginparticular,nottopossessanidentityisnottobe.Thedenialofidentityisthusthe
denialofexistence.
But,aswehaveseen,thedenialofexistenceentailsthedenialofconsciousness.Thereisnothingfor
consciousnesstobeconsciousof,whichmeansthereisnoconsciousness.Suchisthedeadendofsubjectivism
ingeneralandinparticularoftheclaimthatthelawofidentitydoesnotapplytoreality.
Toendorsesubjectivismasone'sexplicitandavowedviewofrealityisofcoursetobeanundisguisedmystic.
Unfortunately,manypeoplewhowouldrejectsubjectivismiftheyidentifiedtheissueconsciouslyholdthe
viewsubconsciouslybyimplication,bydefault,bylackofknowledge,andquitefrequentlybyevadingthe
issue.
Hereareafewsimplecolloquialexampleswhichyouhaveallheardinourhearingconstantly.Wheneveryou
encounterthem,youaredealingwithsubjectivism.Thismaybetrueforyou,butitisnottrueforme.
Everythingisamatterofopinion,andoneman'sopinionisasgoodasanother.Youmayberight,butIdon't
feelit.Wishingwillmakeitso.Allourdifferencesareamatterofsemantics.Itwillworkifpeoplewillonly
wantittowork.
Allthesestatementsmeanandimplythatthereisnofirm,absolutereality,thatthingshavenoidentitiesand
theirnaturescanbealteredbythewish,whim,orevasionofthespeaker.Youwouldnotbeastolerantofsuch
statementsasyouprobablyareifyouidentifiedtheirphilosophicalmeaning.

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Youwouldnotacceptthemetaphysicaltheoryofobjectivismifitwereofferedtoyouassuch.Butthenwhydo
youacceptsuchastatementas,thismaybetrueforyoubutnottrueforme?Thatstatementcomesfromthe
universeofnonA.Truthistherecognitionofreality.Tobetrue,astatementmustdenotefacts.Itmustdenote
thatwhichexists.
IfItellyouthatmentalhealthrequiresintellectualindependenceandyoutellmethatitrequiresuncritical
conformitytothebeliefsofone'sculture,bothstatementscannotbetrue.Thereisnowayforbothofustobe
right.Whenmendisagree,atleastoneofthemhastobewrong.Itisnotpossiblefortwomentoberightwhen
theyclaimoppositeviewsonthesamesubject.
Ifrealityisreal,ifexistenceexists,ifthingsarewhattheyare,thenwithregardtoanyspecificissue,onlyone
positionistrue.Butifrealityisnotreal,ifexistencedoesnotexist,ifthingsarenotwhattheyare,ifoneisa
subjectivist,whythenanythinggoes,andtheneverybody'struthistrueandnobody's,becausethereisnosuch
thingastruth.
AndasEllsworthTooheywouldputit,oneplaysitdeuceswild.ButrememberAisA.Ascientistcannotmake
afalsetheorytruebyclosinghiseyestothedatathatcontradictit.Aninventorcannotmakeaperpetualmotion
machinepossiblesimplybecausehewantsittobepossible.Amancannothealabrokenarmbychoosingto
regardthebreakasonlyanillusion.
Achildcannotloveamotherhehatesmerelybyinsistingthathelovesher.Aneuroticcannotexperienceself
esteembyrefusingtoacknowledgehisselfloathing.Butthosewhomakesuchattemptsaretheconsciousor
unconsciouspractitionersofthemetaphysicsofsubjectivism.
Andthisgivesusacluetothepsychologicalappealofsubjectivism.Philosophically,theconceptisobserved
andcannotbemaintainedliterallyorconsistentlybyanyone.Thesubjectivistuniverse,auniversewithout
identitywhereAisnonA,canneitherexistnorbeconceived.
Itexistsinthemindsofmostirrationalistsnotasaliteralmetaphysicalconvictionbutasavague,implicit,
secret,undefinedescapeclause,anescapeclausethatpermitsthemtoignorethelawofidentitywhentheyfind
itconvenienttodoso,whentheywishtoindulgeirrationalwhims,makeirrationaldemands,pursuean
irrationalcourse,anddonotwishtoberemindedthatAisA,thatrealityisreal,andthatactionshave
consequences.
Thestoryistoldofageologistwhoconceivedahighlyoriginaltheoryabouttherockformationinacertain
valley.Theevidencehehadexaminedconfirmedhistheory,andhewasexaltantoverthesensationthathis
paperwouldcreateinscientificcircles.Hewalkedupahilltoenjoyhisvalley,whensuddenlyhiseyefell
uponalargeboulder,atypeofrockwhichshouldnothavebeenthereifhistheoryweretrue.
Thereupon,heputhisshouldertotherockandpusheditdowntheothersideofthehillandproceededabout
hisbusiness.Ifhedidn'tseetherockandnobodyelsesawit,itdidn'texist.Thatiswhatthemetaphysicsof
subjectivismcomestoinpractice.Thatisallitcanordoesmean.
Anotherexample,ascientist,anameyouwillallrecognize,wroteasfollowsinregardtoscientificresearch
projects,quote,"Inordertogetaparticularresult,onemustwanttogetexactlythatresult.Ifyouwanttoget
thatparticularresult,youwillgetit,"closequote.TheauthorofthisstatementisprofessorTDLysenko,the
famousSovietbiologist.
AbrotherinspirittoprofessorLysenko,alsodiscussingsciencewroteasfollows,quote,"Thereisnosuch
thingastruth.Scienceisasocialphenomenonandlikeeveryothersocialphenomenonislimitedbythebenefit
orinjuryitconfersonthecommunity."ThegentlemanwhosaidthiswasAdolfHitler.
Itislogicalthatsubjectivismdoesandhastoleadonasocialleveltodictatorship.Anobjectiverealityleaves
noroomandnochanceforanyone'swhims.Itservesasanobjectivearbiterinanydisputeamongmen,an
arbitertowhommencanrefer,anarbiterimpervioustotheinfluenceofanyone'swishesorfeelings.
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Itisonlyonthebasisofanobjectiverealitythatpersuasion,communication,andcooperationamongmenare
possible.Butifmenbelievethatthereisnoreality,thatthereisnotruth,thatthingsarewhateveranywhim
decidestheyare,thenthefirstquestiontoarisewillbe,whosewhim?Itisatthispointthatthemanwiththe
clubbecomesthemasterandmightbecomesright.Thereisnootherkindofright.
Inthelanguageofmodernphilosophers,amanwhodoesnotaccepttheexistenceofanobjectivereality
absolute,determinate,andindependentofconsciousnessiscalledasubjectiveidealist,apragmatist,ora
positivist.Inthelanguageofthepsychopathologist,suchamaniscalledaschizophrenic.Aschizophrenic
holdshisdelusionsandhallucinationsasrealandevidencefromrealitytothecontraryasunreal.
Butexistenceexists,andmanachievespoweroverrealitynotbyblindnessbutbysight,notbywishesbutby
thoughtandaction.Indefiningyourphilosophicalconvictions,thisisthefirstalternativeyouhavetoface,the
firstquestionyouhavetoanswer.Doyourecognizethefactthatexistenceexists,thatrealityisanobjective
absoluteandthatyourmindcanknowit?
Ordoyoubelievethatexistence,reality,consciousness,mindaresubjectiveillusionswithoutidentityinthe
nonbrainofanonman?Thisisthebasicissueofmetaphysics.Allsubsequentquestionsdependonone's
answertothisquestion.Nowyouknowwhyourphilosophyiscalledobjectivism.
Tonightwehaveestablishedtheaxiomsofexistence,identity,andconsciousnessasthebaseoftheobjectivist
philosophy.Wehavesaidthatreasonasopposedtomysticism,faith,orrevelationisman'sexclusivetoolof
knowledge.Howdoesthefacultyofreasonfunction?Whatistheroleofthesubconscious?Whatisthenature
andsourceofemotions,andwhatistheirrelationtomen'sreason?Thesearethequestionswewilldiscussnext
week.

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