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How do I become an end to myself and not a means to the ends of others? How do I exist for my own sake, neither sacrificing myself to others nor sacrificing others to myself? What else is there to do beyond continuing to pursue my own rational self-interest and fully living the principle that my own happiness is the highest moral purpose of my life?

asked Jan 31 '11 at 13:46

timmyarthur's gravatar image


edited Feb 07 '11 at 17:35

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Short answer: All you have to do is think!

Long answer: it you're relatively new to Objectivism, a good place to start is learning about the Objectivist virtues (rationality--the "master" virtue--plus independence, productiveness, pride, integrity, honesty, and justice). For a more full understanding of these, and in order to answer other questions that are bound to come up in your life, you will eventually want to delve deeper into ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics. And you'll also want to gain more clarity over the political and cultural landscape--but how it is, and how it should be.

There are numerous Objectivist works of nonfiction addressing all these issues (though I'd recommend not getting too deep into these until you've read at least Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and Anthem). Here is a good reference:


Finally, you'll probably find Leonard Peikoff's "OPAR" book to be supremely useful.

By the way, let me caution you very strongly not to treat Objectivism as a set of rules to live by, as a dogma, etc. It's very easy to fall into that trap, especially for people coming from a religious background (which was my background). The reason I mention this is because Objectivism isn't a "modus operandi" (it's a philosophy).

answered Feb 01 '11 at 03:47

javert's gravatar image

javert ♦

Thank you Javert. Your short answer is spot on and I am considering your long answer as well. My mind constantly calculates and processes, finding answers and asking diagnostic questions, but yet critically avoids its highest order task of THINKING. As mitigation, I am loading the Objectivism image into my mind to control my primary operating system and be my firewall as well. My problem is not having a constant readily available set of commands to GUIDE (not rigidly dictate) my life as I live it each day. Years ago I overwrote my irrational religious dogma just like Alice Rosenbaum (Ayn).

(Feb 01 '11 at 14:39) timmyarthur timmyarthur's gravatar image

When you can afford it, I would also recommend two lecture series by Dr Peikoff, "Understanding Objectivism" and "Objectivism Through Induction," both available at the Ayn Rand Bookstore.


answered Feb 17 '11 at 05:51

JJMcVey's gravatar image

JJMcVey ♦

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Asked: Jan 31 '11 at 13:46

Seen: 1,861 times

Last updated: Feb 17 '11 at 05:51