John Galt continues,
Whoever you are, you who are hearing me now, I am speaking to whatever living remnant is left uncorrupted within you, to the remnant of the human, to your mind, and I say: There is a morality of reason, a morality proper to man, and Man’s Life is its standard of value.
The word uncorrupted is significant. The corrupt is all that one is persuaded to do against one's reason or common sense, usually by FORCE of the state, but occasionally by the cunning wiles of those who believe in something other than a morality of reason. The summation of this morality is this,
All that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; all that which destroys it is the evil.
Proper, appropriate, as our French cousins would say “clean” is fit for the life of a rational being. All that is destructive, self-destructive, or in any sense underhanded or lacking in straightforward honesty is unfit for the life of a rational being and if not altered leads to death.
Man’s life, as required by his nature, is not the life of a mindless brute, of a looting thug or a mooching mystic, but the life of a thinking being-not life by means of FORCE or fraud, but life by means of achievement-not survival at any price, since there’s only one price that pays for man’s survival: reason.
Please note the types identified and make no mistake there is a direct correspondence; mindless brutes, what most of us were told in one form or another that we were; looting thug, what the people who wear suits and ties and hang out in places like the City of London, Wall Street, and other such places actually are; mooching mystics, people who haven't a clue and don't want one because they have thrown in with anything and everything that is irrational.
I can just hear it now, those who say that we've tried reason before and it has failed us. WRONG, we have never tried it, not because we couldn't have or that we didn't want to, but that those in power, relying for support on irrationalist philosophy, decided to take Western society, and much of the rest of the world along with it, on a left turn (figuratively speaking) from which we have not emerged, from since about the founding of the American republic back in 1776. John Galt continues,
Man’s life is the standard of morality, but your own life is its purpose. If existence on earth is your goal, you must choose your actions and values by the standard of that which is proper to man-for the purpose of preserving, fulfilling and enjoying the irreplaceable value which is your life.
We aren't encouraged to think of ourselves this way because all our lives we've been given the message that if we weren't part of the ruling elites our lives were pretty much worthless, and less than that because we were driven to feel guilt for that which was not even our doing nor our responsibility.
Since life requires a specific course of action, any other course will destroy it. A being who does not hold his own life as the motive and goal of his actions, is acting on the motive and standard of death. Such a being is a metaphysical monstrosity, struggling to oppose, negate and contradict the fact of his own existence, running blindly amuck on a trail of destruction, capable of nothing but pain.
Well, that after all is all the powers that be intended for us, since we are unimportant in their eyes. Very well then, we will have to start fresh, from where we are, to gain a new appraisal, our own not anyone else's, of what matters most to us and where and what are our VIRTUES. Remember we are striving to attain virtuous conscious action to achieve the attainment of value, which can be exchanged with others to promote our life and in the process, promote that of those with whom we trade.
Happiness is the successful state of life, pain is an agent of death. Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values. A morality that dares to tell you to find happiness in the renunciation of your happiness-to value the failure of your values-is an insolent negation of morality.
Attention all religionists, you are on notice that what you are teaching is false and wasn't even the true doctrine of those who founded your religions. We have very good, really quite irrefutable sources, most of them quite ancient, which back up this contention. Understand though, neither we, nor John Galt / Ayn Rand, is teaching a morality based on selfishness in the practical definition we have come to; a truly selfish act is not merely self-serving, it is self-serving at the direct expense of others. Let's be very clear about our terms so that we can gain a better understanding. Morality is not, as has been assumed, a means for some authority to gain mindless control over countless millions of devotees, it is rather a practical and rational way of life that accurately assesses certain actions as good and others as bad and uses the value of human life as a fulcrum, as a basis for discerning distinctions among actions.
A doctrine that gives you, as an ideal, the role of a sacrificial animal seeking slaughter on the altars of others, is giving you death as your standard. By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man-every man-is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.
A true unbiased reading of the oldest and most frequently violated old scriptures and teachings reveals that there is no fundamental disagreement between those understandings of morality and John Galt's. What has been taught, especially over the past 150 years or so, is in often quite flagrant deviation from the authentic and original teachings.
But neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. Just as man is free to attempt to survive in any random manner, but will perish unless he lives as his nature requires, so he is free to seek his happiness in any mindless fraud, but the torture of frustration is all he will find, unless he seeks the happiness proper to man. The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.
Now listen to this, after perhaps gaining some acquaintance with the points made in the Peace Revolution and School Sucks podcasts,
Sweep aside those parasites of subsidized classrooms, who live on the profits of the mind of others and proclaim that man needs no morality, no values, no code of behavior. They, who pose as scientists and claim that man is only an animal, do not grant him inclusion in the law of existence they have granted to the lowest of insects. They recognize that every living species has a way of survival demanded by its nature, they do not claim that a fish can live out of water or that a dog can live without its sense of smell-but man, they claim, the most complex of beings, man can survive in any way whatever, man has no identity, no nature, and there’s no practical reason why he cannot live with his means of survival destroyed, with his mind throttled and placed at the disposal of any orders they might care to issue.
Some emphasis before going on. By those parasites of subsidized classrooms, what more could possibly be meant except public schools, or more correctly ANY school that is polluted by the ideas and notions of the state and the elite behind the state. Understood? And who might those be who live on the profits of the mind of others? We will have occasion for further development of just who these people are and how they operate in a future paper dealing with “intellectual property,” an idea that came in with the French revolution and besets us to this day. And just who is it that proclaim that man needs no morality, no values, no code of behaviour? These are largely of the so called social sciences. Galt says further, they, who pose as scientists while not really and truly belonging to or with any real science, and claim that man is only an animal, do not grant him inclusion in the law of existence they have granted to the lowest of insects. In other words, these pseudo-scientists disregard what man needs to survive by taking it for granted or usurping it in favour of themselves, the state or the elites behind the state. What a gigantic rip-off! And of course it's still going on without pause today, by any orders they might care to issue. The they in this sense should be clearly identifiable by now.
Sweep aside those hatred-eaten mystics, who pose as friends of humanity and preach that the highest virtue man can practice is to hold his own life as of no value.
There are many of these who one wouldn't normally recognize as hatred-eaten mystics, who really are anyway. Most of them work for governments, corporations, foundations, think tanks, colleges and universities. At the bottom of their philosophy are the grapes of an idealist's hatred for all that is not congruent with their ideology, itself built on deep hatred that covers itself frequently by ill timed laughter. Recall that idealism is based on irrationalist philosophy (really anti-philosophy) that claims that ultimate truth cannot be known for certain so even proximate truth is open to question. Really? And they expect us just to follow them based on some vast claim of authority that likely as not isn't even valid? When are we going to get off this collectivist merry-go-round?
Do they tell you that the purpose of morality is to curb man’s instinct of self-preservation? It is for the purpose of self-preservation that man needs a code of morality. The only man who desires to be moral is the man who desires to live.
Hence those who wish not to be rationally moral would I suppose prefer to die. What a colossal tragedy and waste!
No, you do not have to live; it is your basic act of choice; but if you choose to live,. you must live as a man-by the work and the judgment of your mind.
... from whence forms the occupations of one's body, one's limbs, one's energies, everything one does in life.
No, you do not have to live as a man; it is an act of moral choice. But you cannot live as anything else-and the alternative is that state of living death which you now see within you and around you, the state of a thing unfit for existence, no longer human and less than animal, a thing that knows nothing but pain and drags itself through its span of years in the agony of unthinking self-destruction.
Look around you, and you see the fulfilment of the desires of the elites; most people have nothing and little choice about it because they don't know how to get out of the chains they are placed in by their education which in most instances avails them only slightly more than gross ignorance. It is better to be self taught than to have been taught by the greatest teachers who may well as not lead one astray into immorality, doing whatever it is that promotes the opposite of virtuous action and leads ultimately to death after a wasted life.
No, you do not have to think; it is an act of moral choice. But someone had to think to keep you alive; if you choose to default, you default on existence and you pass the deficit to some moral man, expecting him to sacrifice his good for the sake of letting you survive by your evil.
This is the idea of transfer of wealth from those who make it to those who do not; "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." This idea lies at the heart of collectivism as universally understood. However Galt's / Rand's understanding of this is limited and we here come to another fallacy. There are many kinds of useful productivity that have nothing to do with creating anything of new value to add to mankind's store of values. There are positions in life having to do with effecting trade at various levels dealing with used goods, with recycled materials, the various specialties connected with actually cleaning up something that has been made useless, like poisoned land, and most importantly with merely buying at wholesale and selling at retail, thus getting product closer to where it is most in demand. These are all, like it or not, contributions to human value and are thus moral goods and those ethically involved in such businesses are performing well understood and legitimate economic functions. The picture Galt / Rand paints is against a background of scarcity, which as we have pointed out, is always manipulated and in most cases is done deliberately to mask the true productive abundance of nature.
No, you do not have to be a man; but today those who are, are not there any longer. I have removed your means of survival-your victims.
There are more than the producers who become the victims of a collectivist economic order whether it be Bolshevik, communist lite, socialist, socialist lite, fascist or tin horn dictatorship. They're all the same. The victims include everyone who is not part of the state and corporate monstrosity (with the banks behind them) that arrogates to itself all the gleanings from the economic order they have stunted or destroyed.
If you wish to know how I have done it and what I told them to make them quit, you are hearing it now. I told them, in essence, the statement I am making tonight. They were men who had lived by my code, but had not known how great a virtue it represented. I made them see it. I brought them, not a re-evaluation, but only an identification of their values.
... and this blog is attempting to do the same thing for all who care enough to pay attention.
We, the men of the mind, are now on strike against you in the name of a single axiom, which is the root of our moral code, just as the root of yours is the wish to escape it: the axiom that existence exists.
Always reason from identity as the basis of rational thought; that which is, exists.
Existence exists-and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.
It's pretty obvious, but a lot of people just flip out when they are confronted by this, because they have spent the largest portion of their time and their lives attempting to escape this reality. Conversely, and this is simplicity itself,
If nothing exists, there can be no consciousness: a consciousness with nothing to be conscious of is a contradiction in terms. A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as consciousness, it had to be conscious of something. If that which you claim to perceive does not exist, what you possess is not consciousness.
There are many will known “scientific” theories that can be easily defeated by these arguments, but we shall not pursue them further from here.
Whatever the degree of your knowledge, these two-existence and consciousness-are axioms you cannot escape, these two are the irreducible primaries implied in any action you undertake, in any part of your knowledge and in its sum, from the first ray of light you perceive at the start of your life to the widest erudition you might acquire at its end. Whether you know the shape of a pebble or the structure of a solar system, the axioms remain the same: that it exists and that you know it.
This largely discards mystical experience as it is mostly understood, although by extension, and many philosophical materialists would like to discount this, were there any appropriate measures of so called mystical experience available, the realm of the real would certainly have to be enlarged. But to continue,
To exist is to be something, as distinguished from the nothing of non-existence, it is to be an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes. Centuries ago, the man who was-no matter what his errors-the greatest of your philosophers, has stated the formula defining the concept of existence and the rule of all knowledge: A is A. A thing is itself. You have never grasped the meaning of his statement. I am here to complete it: Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification.
Whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute or an action, the law of identity remains the same. A leaf cannot be a stone at the same time, it cannot be all red and all green at the same time, it cannot freeze and burn at the same time. A is A. Or, if you wish it stated in simpler language: You cannot have your cake and eat it, too.
... or be eaten by it, as many are. That's called being devoured by debt so that you never get to enjoy what you thought you'd gained in the original purchase. This can be practically anything including a car, a boat, a house, a business, even dare I say it, an education, or no, since we don't really get one, rather, an expensive degree.
Are you seeking to know what is wrong with the world? All the disasters that have wrecked your world, came from your leaders’ attempt to evade the fact that A is A. All the secret evil you dread to face within you and all the pain you have ever endured, came from your own attempt to evade the fact that A is A. The purpose of those who taught you to evade it, was to make you forget that Man is Man.
... and for whatever reasons, and there were many, to evade the consequences of this obvious truth, thereby to escape responsibility as many intellectuals have done before and since the so called “Enlightenment” which was deliberately cut short by those who preferred the irrationality of statism, empire, war and all the rest.
Man cannot survive except by gaining knowledge, and reason is his only means to gain it. Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses. The task of his senses is to give him the evidence of existence, but the task of identifying it belongs to his reason, his senses tell him only that something is, but what it is must be learned by his mind.
If you have been following along, this means the Trivium; grammar, logic and rhetoric, in that precise order.
All thinking is a process of identification and integration. Man perceives a blob of color; by integrating the evidence of his sight and his touch, he learns to identify it as a solid object; he learns to identify the object as a table; he learns that the table is made of wood; he learns that the wood consists of cells, that the cells consist of molecules, that the molecules consist of atoms. All through this process, the work of his mind consists of answers to a single question: What is it? His means to establish the truth of his answers is logic, and logic rests on the axiom that existence exists.
Now follow along very closely ...
Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. A contradiction cannot exist. An atom is itself, and so is the universe; neither can contradict its own identity; nor can a part contradict the whole. No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge. To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality.
Well said, and I hope you got it. If not, read it over very carefully once again. By logic being art, it is understood that the use of logic takes practice and talent. Some will have greater abilities in this regard than others, but surprisingly few people are actually as stupid as they appear or as stupid as they behave and much of their behaviour is the result of paying attention to the worst sources of influence, like TV sitcoms, or really bad horror movies, all of which tend to load the mind with senseless irrational junk. What rubbish most people merely accept as normal, or socially significant or whatever, when in fact these are merely more tentacles of the same monster seeking conformity and blind obedience from everyone. Reason is the cold wake up shower into self-awareness that most people really need.
Reality is that which exists; the unreal does not exist; the unreal is merely that negation of existence which is the content of a human consciousness when it attempts to abandon reason. Truth is the recognition of reality; reason, man’s only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth.
Therefore one cannot know any truth of any kind without employing reason and even some of those holding high positions in this or that institution are surprisingly lacking in it. As I said, it's amazing that humanity hasn't already gone extinct due to such errant foolishness.
The most depraved sentence you can now utter is to ask: Whose reason? The answer is: Yours. No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it. It is only with your own knowledge that you can deal. It is only your own knowledge that you can claim to possess or ask others to consider. Your mind is your only judge of truth-and if others dissent from your verdict, reality is the court of final appeal. Nothing but a man’s mind can perform that complex, delicate, crucial process of identification which is thinking. Nothing can direct the process but his own judgment. Nothing can direct his judgment but his moral integrity.
So you see how it's all tied together. Notice how value as previously described must be determined by each person, but the experiences of your value by others over time will have an effect on their appraisal of your value to them. That becomes a natural corollary and will be dealt with in a future paper, because it is a key part of forming (the or an) VEN.
You who speak of a ‘moral instinct’ as if it were some separate endowment opposed to reason-man’s reason is his moral faculty. A process of reason is a process of constant choice in answer to the question: True or False?-Right or Wrong? Is a seed to be planted in soil in order to grow-right or wrong? Is a man’s wound to be disinfected in order to save his life-right or wrong? Does the nature of atmospheric electricity permit it to be converted into kinetic power-right or wrong? It is the answers to such questions that gave you everything you have-and the answers came from a man’s mind, a mind of intransigent devotion to that which is right.
Against this simple and obvious procedure a great many poisonous designs, fraudulent business plans, inconvenient issues, compromises with reality, disregard of consequences, etc. are easily unmasked.
A rational process is a moral process. You may make an error at any step of it, with nothing to protect you but your own severity, or you may try to cheat, to fake the evidence and evade the effort of the quest-but if devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.
Therefore what do we make of the kind of person that takes a bribe (money, a promotion, healthcare benefits, even perhaps for a sick relative) from a corporation, foundation or think tank, to concoct phony data to support an already agreed upon conclusion? Is he or she a credible scientist or something else? Just asking. There are many more such questions.
That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call ‘free will’ is your mind’s freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character.
Whether or not this is absolutely true is immaterial in better than 90% of the decisions you make in your life, so please let's not quibble.
Thinking is man’s only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed.
So in order to seek out one's own virtue, that which cannot help but be good, one must exercise rational thought, in order to discover, ascertain and develop one's unique virtues.
And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think-not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment-on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict ‘It is.’
Notice where this is going. Reality is reality, rational thought about reality is all that counts, as it furthers one's discovery and development of one's own virtues, with which one can seek to acquire and trade real value with others, for what purpose? To sustain one's life.
Non-thinking is an act of annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality.
This is in fact what idealists do and truth be known, all idealists hate reality. This reality hating mentality infects society to such a degree that most live their entire lives never questioning it, it's exactly the same as being in Plato's cave.
But existence exists; reality is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper. By refusing to say ‘It is,’ you are refusing to say ‘I am.’ By suspending your judgement, you are negating your person. When a man declares: ‘Who am I to know?’-he is declaring: ‘Who am I to live?’
Got it? In order to really be alive you NEVER accept what someone says as if they automatically know better, especially when what they tell you does not agree with past data, experience or proven facts known to you.
This, in every hour and every issue, is your basic moral choice: thinking or non-thinking, existence or non-existence, A or non-A, entity or zero.
To the extent to which a man is rational, life is the premise directing his actions. To the extent to which he is irrational, the premise directing his actions is death.
We are all free to choose on every imaginable level, all the time. This discussion will continue in the next post in this series.