We presently live amidst a struggle, politically, between those who believe in individual freedom and those who want to separate us from that freedom, treating us instead as “groups”. Writing of a way to view how a political system should be set up and what a man, escaped from a collectivist society discovered once on his own, is the following from taken from Chapter 11 of Ayn Rand’s 1938 work Anthem:
“I am. I think. I will.
My hands… My spirit… My body… My sky… My forest… This Earth of mine…
What must I say besides? These are the words. This is the answer.
I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being. I am the warrant and the sanction.
It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world. It is my mind which thinks, and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect.
Many words have been granted me, and some are wise, and some are false, but only three are holy: “I will it!”
Whatever road I take, the guiding star is within me; the guiding star and the loadstone which point the way. They point in but one direction. They point to me.
I know not if this earth on which I stand is the core of the universe or if it is but a speck of dust lost in eternity. I know not and I care not. For I know what happiness is possible to me on earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.
Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a bandage for their wounds. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.
I am a man. This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before!
I do not surrender my treasures, nor do I share them. The fortune of my spirit is not to be blown into coins of brass and flung to the winds as alms for the poor of the spirit. I guard my treasures: my thought, my will, my freedom. And the greatest of these is freedom.
I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them. I ask none to live for me, nor do I live for any others. I covet no man’s soul, nor is my soul theirs to covet.
I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me. And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned.
I shall choose friends among men, but neither slaves nor masters. And I shall choose only such as please me, and them I shall love and respect, but neither command nor obey. And we shall join our hands when we wish, or walk alone when we so desire. For in the temple of his spirit, each man is alone. Let each man keep his temple untouched and undefiled. Then let him join hands with others if he wishes, but only beyond his holy threshold.
For the word “We” must never be spoken, save by one’s choice and as a second thought. This word must never be placed first within a man’s soul, else it becomes a monster, the root of all the evils on the earth, the root of man’s torture by men, and an unspeakable lie.
The word “We” is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the gray of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.
What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree, and to obey?
But I am done with this creed of corruption.
I am done with the monster of “We”, the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame.
And now I see the face of god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.
This god, this one word:
Does anyone see characters in our world of national politics in this writing? In media? In positions of authority?
July 30, 2012
The great god "I" is why we are in this mess. There is a God, and Obama's not Him, Romney's not Him -- and I'm not Him, either. If I ever become deluded that any man, myself included, is God, I'm in deep trouble.
I could be a victim of faulty memory, but I believe that the new testament (if you happen to be Christian) says that Christ is in you and always with you. This was also taken out of the context of a book, where the protagonist making this observation had been programmed in a collectivist, atheist society from birth, like everyone else in his world, and had broken free.
I had considered what you wrote prior to posting this, but in the end decided that wasn't what it was about. It is basically about never being compelled to be ruled nor to be dominated by other men and held captive as a society, such that weaker, less intelligent beings determine your outcomes and your daily activities -- unless of course, by your personal choice (though who would choose that, knowingly?). It's about law being based on the individual, not on "groups" (black, gay, single mothers, Hispanic, etc.). No "social justice". Only individual responsibility and individual outcomes.
The great god "I", is ego. Ego is what compels men to start their own businesses or to go hunting for food. We are all made of it to one degree or another. Runaway ego is usually harmless and often funny, unless due to too much concentrated political power.
The “I” here refers to the individual trumping the arrogation of self by the state. We own ourselves. This is far from an assertion of deity. On the other hand, Obama and cohorts are intoxicated with the God-like power of the collectivist state. I wonder if it is fair to imply that of Romney. Generally, Conservatives do not have a selfish need to control others.
This economical and political mess was caused by people seeing themselves as god-like, "doing good" for others.
I wholeheartedly agree with Steve, when we get the idea that we are God, you have things like Obama, happen. When we forget our Creator, and at some point, begin to think we can surpass his knowledge, then we are lost. We are lost right now, and I choose to ask for Divine Guidance and help. The selfishness of self gratification, instant gratification, with no thought, as to the consequences, or our responsibility, has led us to where we are now. I remember when, it all began to fall apart in the Sixties, they said "If it feels good, do it". Well, we see that turned out.
Anthem, was an anti-collectivist work. The passage quoted here by the Blog Author was my first reading of this work by Ayn Rand.
I do not see this passage as "deifying" even with a lower case "g," man. Rather, I see this as a work BOTH anti-collectivist AND pro "Creator" or pro God. My take is that while God Reveals Himself in Three Persons, He also Reveals His Name is "I Am." Though created in God's Image, I have intellect, passion, and will yet I am an individual. One of our unalienable Rights is "Freedom of Association." God endows me with the choice of IF, and with whom, to associate with among my fellow men. Only in my relationship with Him ... is the Mystery revealed that though "I" am, once indwelt by His Holy Spirit, ... I am then "We."
Almost all of the Scriptural and Spiritual Truth's embraced by our "Founding Father's," and so central to the form of government they devised for our republic, have been lost, denied, and distorted.
I am unsure what Jeff Dover is suggesting by his final question ... "Does anyone see characters in our world of national politics in this writing? In media? In positions of authority?"
Perhaps he might join this discussion and clarify.
Well said, Chas!
In reply to your last question, Chas, I couldn't help but think of Obama, Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano, Judy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Rachel Madow and a whole panoply of Leftist political and media figures when I was reading this...all people who have caused us to bow and obey in one way or another or have been elevated to positions which previously commanded respect and have gone on to make a mockery of the position. Their images were leaping off the pages at me! They are all corrupt and botched. They steal the might of the strong and steal the wisdom of the wise. However, they can only do it with our consent...
Many seek to see far more "gray" than I believe exists. Most things fall either clearly on the side of Good or Evil, or more on the side of Good or Evil than its antithesis or counter proposition. God ... the Creator cited by our Founders, endowed us with Rights He deemed in our best interests. He gives us ample Teachings and examples for living Life as He intends.
Our Founders drew more upon God than upon all the human philosophers and writers and did their best to form a government most likely to secure our blessings and liberty ... and least likely to devolve into tyranny and despotism.
However, they also warned their "posterity," [that is US folks] that the form of government given us was FIT only for a wholly moral and religious people. That which our Founders bequeathed to us, came under attacks almost immediately. Some openly, others more secretly and deviously. We have not heeded their warnings, have not remained vigilant and taken their opposition seriously for FAR To LONG!
Now we are beset more by lawlessness and immorality not only in our institutions, but in our people. Unless that is reversed, I fail to see how we restore and preserve our republic and liberty without at least a period of time under a "benevolent dictator." One with the faith, morals, and integrity such as demonstrated by George Washington and many other "Founders." Such a "benevolent dictator" could allow us time to restore God and His WORD into our homes, schools, courts, and the hearts and minds of the people.
Then, we may be ready for our next attempt at self-government, under a new Written Constitution, one written with the benefits learned from our last, failed, attempt.
We will know much more what fate is coming after the election this November.
I am finished with Obama. He is a mentally ill man.
The struggle is between those who depend on governments and those upon whom governments must depend.
Let me straighten a few things out.
MAN, The HUMAN RACE .... defines GOD by the creature we are in terms of the universe around us. If that science proves our theories ... we adapt to that thinking, and religious philosophy... WE MAKE IT UP! We make up God according to our thinking and actions. In simple terms ... we define our religion by the science of the Universe and how our thinking fits into that Universe.
Second... YOUR BRAIN is stuck inside a creation and that brain adapts to the chemistry that sends signals to that electric mass of thoughts that become you inside that physical shell.
Third ... You have been programmed by your experiences and the peer pressure of how ever you live .... where ever you live.
Put these three things into PROPER PERSPECTIVE and you can NOW break out of the mental and physical programming to Understand how and why the actions of those around you are right ... or wrong.
Obama has been PROGRAMMED and deluded by himself, his teachers, his mentors, his peers.... and yet the most BASIC of checks ... WHO IS THIS MAN ... WHAT DOES HE WANT... Do his actions match his words .. have not come into question for so many of his supporters who turn a blind eye, a deaf ear, and shout down facts that show who this man is and what he represents for the actions he will or will not take?
It is as much the fault of the SINGLE MAN ... the "I"... .as it is the support group around him. FOLLOW THE MONEY ... bring these criminals to justice...awaken to the biggest scam in government since BOSS TWEED in NYC!
Thank you Bruce. Obama's thinking it out of step with the American citizens except those who want a free hand out
and those who think the working citizens owe them a living. Obama is way out of step with the American philosophy of life.