What is Objectionism?
Thou shalt know; self-chosen are the woes that fall on men - how
wretched, for they see not good so near, nor hearken to its voice - few
only know the pathway of deliverance from ill - Pythagoras
You may have noticed that all over the world people face similar sexual, domestic, social, and psychological problems without knowing why. A lot of people admit that they suffer anxiety because of the complexity and apparent disorder of the world around them. They admit that the world appears to them as a confusing and often chaotic place without meaning. Because of deep-set uncertainty, many people simply give up searching for a meaning and immerse themselves in their daily socially-prescribed and socially-endorsed roles. They give up caring about their ultimate purpose or end.
Leading experts and clinicians in fields of modern psychology are puzzled as to why rates of depression and suicide have dramatically increased since 1900, when Sigmund Freud
published The Interpretation of Dreams, which launched the
psychoanalytical movement. They are at their wits end to explain why, in an age of astonishing technical sophistication – when
apparently more is known about the workings of human minds and hearts – evil in all its forms has not abated one jot. If anything, it has increased in scope and intensity. In his fine book The Evil We Do, Carl Goldberg, one of America’s foremost
psychologists and experts on human development, writes:
We have now experienced a century of psychoanalysis. Our culture is saturated with its theories. Vast numbers of people have been recipients of its treatments. And yet, in the postmodern world…we are less optimistic about our future than were people prior to the psychoanalytic era
Addressing the perplexing rise in clinical depression, Goldberg states:
…the first international study of major depressive illness reported in
1992 in the Journal of the American Medical Association that there has been a steady increase in clinical depression throughout the world in the present century…people born between 1945 and 1955 were more than twice as likely to incur serious depression in the course of their lifetimes than people born between 1905 and 1915
Answers to the existential problems faced by modern man lie with philosophy more than with psychology, even though both
forms of inquiry are invaluable. Philosophy is the foundation of psychology. Therefore, if and when the former discipline is left out in the cold, the latter discipline will be inevitably handicapped. A study of the works of great philosophers reveals how many theories commonly attributed to famous
psychologists originated with their intellectual predecessors. Key ideas found in the works of Bleuler, Groddeck, Freud, Jung, Adler, Horney, and Rank, etc, were often demonstrably prefigured in the writings of thinkers such as Plato, Montaigne, Descartes, Spinoza, Hegel, Schelling, Diderot, Schopenhauer, Hume, Hartley, and Kierkegaard (not to mention William James). A perusal of Eduard von Hartmann’s remarkable work entitled
Philosophy of the Unconscious (published in 1869) serves to allay
lingering doubt on the matter concerning the precedence of philosophy over psychology. Indeed, the very word psychology
was first introduced into the lexicon of the western world as early as the year 1530 AD by Croatian philosopher Marko Marulić. It was reintroduced in 1590 by German philosopher Rudolf Göckel, and finally popularized in 1732 by German philosopher Christian Wolff.
Psychological analysis and knowledge certainly helps us to diagnose behavioral problems and maladies, so we may enjoy more fruitful relationships with ourselves and the rest of humankind. It mentally and emotionally restores us so we can function correctly as social animals. Philosophy, on the other hand, helps us to be better human beings. It allows us to understand our true natures as independent Selves, irrespective
of our roles in society. Philosophy allows us not merely to fix what is broken, but to gain vivid insight into our own perfection. The harsh but certain fact is that without a rational vision of ourselves as perfect beings in a perfect universe, the tireless and noteworthy efforts of psychologists and psychiatrists to diagnose and mend mental and emotional dysfunction will - like the actions and aspirations of politicians - ultimately lead mankind
…we have looked to psychology and psychoanalysis to provide us with a viable perspective on how to live the good life in an age of cynicism. Clearly, psychoanalysis has not yet provided a sound social theory – Carl Goldberg
For empty is that philosopher's argument by which no human suffering is therapeutically treated. For just as there is no use in medical art that does not cast out the sickness of bodies, so too there is no use in philosophy, unless it cast out the suffering of the soul -
Generally speaking, applied psychology and psychiatry tend to be concerned with human imperfection, whereas philosophy tends to be concerned with human perfection. Additionally, philosophical inquiry into the meaning of existence is less likely to result in self-deception and escapism, whereas psychology –
the subject ostensibly developed to help us overcome our penchant for self-deception – can actively if undeliberately
promote it. This was a critique raised against psychoanalysis by French Existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre in his work entitled Being and Nothingness. Psychological theories of the
hidden unconscious, and of irrational impulses and instincts, often work to let humanity off the hook. After all, why take personal responsibility for destructive thought and action when we can convince ourselves that we are victimized by powerful mysterious internal forces and urges beyond conscious control. An entire civilization might misconstrue such ideas and use them to evade responsibility. Is this what we see today? Could this be one solid explanation for the all too obvious existential decay in our super-extrovert, ultra-competitive, hyper-cooperative world?
In any event, even on a mundane level, philosophy like psychology helps us find meaning in life. It serves to lessen the
deep-set, otherwise incurable existential anxiety that leads to additional personality ‚disorders.‛ Unfortunately, today most
people are not inclined to think philosophically. A little exposure to philosophical works and, more often than not, people are put off. Nevertheless, it is the ability to look at life philosophically that brings a working understanding of what is going on in the world. Why are things the way they are? Why are they this way as opposed to that? What does it all mean? What makes people
tick? Who am I? What am I doing here? Where am I going? Does God exist? Everyday chit chat, television watching and newspaper reading, does not provide us with sufficient insight into questions of this sort. Moreover, having opinions about a subject is not the same thing as having true understanding.
Those who do not entirely avoid asking metaquestions often look to religion for answers. However, religion appeals more to beliefs than to knowledge. And one must conform to a lot of impersonal pre-established codes and ideas when they take the religious road. In other words, reason and critical judgment are often suspended rather than sharpened. Once a dogma is accepted on faith, anxiety is lessened but, more often than not, the personal arduous search for meaning is abandoned. As the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne once expressed it: ‚Man
cannot make a worm, yet he will make gods by the dozen.‛
Crucially, religion is primarily a social phenomenon. One is part of a religion and a religious group. One dresses as the group members tend to dress, speaks as it is customary for the group members to speak, and, almost invariably, one thinks along the same lines as the members of the group are wont to think. In other words, one allows themselves to be indoctrinated by the dogma and mores of the religious group and, when the opportunity affords itself, one eventually seeks to indoctrinate others. This is how and why the world’s many religious
communities exist. As Anthony Wallace wrote in Religion: An
Religious behavior is always social…Some religious behaviors may be performed by individuals in solitude, but no religion is purely an individual matter; there is always a congregation which meets on some occasions for the joint performance of ritual acts
In his book Corruption of Reality, author J. F. Schumacher deals
with disassociation and the manner in which humans escape reality. On the matter of irrational religious beliefs he writes:
…without cultural sanction, most or all of our religious beliefs and
rituals would fall into the domain of mental disturbance
Membership of a religion is often attractive because of the ecstatic experiences occasionally experienced by ardent believers.
Experiences of a transcendent kind are often considered the greatest experiences one can have. A believer can feel God-intoxicated or elevated in spirit. Various Biblical characters, given that they existed, allegedly walked in the presence of God or were imbued by his love, and so on. Generally, experiences of this kind appear to be brought about by external forces or
circumstances and are rarely auto-generated. (Consider the conversion of Saint Paul on the road to Damascus or the vision Constantine experienced outside Rome.) In many cases, an individual experiences a euphoric state while in the presence of a group of co-believers. This is common for Evangelists, Southern Baptists, Revivalists, and members of Christian Science congregations. It is also common among various religious sects in the Eastern world. And why not? After all, as infants we were entirely dependent upon our caregivers. Whether our parents were competent or not, abusive or loving, in infancy we and they were essentially indistinguishable. In Escape from Freedom, Erich
The parents, or whoever the authority may be, are not yet regarded as being fundamentally separate entity; they are part of the child’s universe, and this universe is still part of the child; submission to them, therefore, has a different quality from the kind of submission that exists once two individuals have become really separate
The allure of collectivism is therefore quite understandable. During infancy the psyche was well and truly colonized. Our
consciousness is literally a product of society. Inwardly, most of us are not individuals at all; we are everyone. We think, believe,
and act as most people around us are wont to think, believe and act. To go against the flow and strive to discover what it means to be a Self, is tantamount to falling from grace and entering hell. As Adam and Eve apparently suffered for their act of self will, so do we each suffer if and when we attempt to individuate. Heaven is the haven of consensus and paradise little more than freedom from freedom. This is the unspoken but deeply embodied
creed of today’s ‚smiling depressives.‛
In the same book, Fromm reminds us how little freedom was experienced just a short time ago by our medieval predecessors:
What characterizes medieval in contrast to modern society is its lack of individual freedom. Everybody in the earlier period was chained to
his role in the social order. A man had little chance to move socially from one class to another, he was hardly able to move even geographically from one town or from one country to another. With few exceptions he had to stay where he was born. He was often not even free to dress as he pleased or to eat what he liked…Medieval
society did not deprive the individual of his freedom, because the ‚individual‛ did not yet exist
In other words, man has been conditioned for collectivity rather than for independence. The very idea of true unadulterated Selfhood and aloneness plunges most men into a state of existential trepidation. A man’s deep-set antipathy toward self-
determined thought and action drives him toward any altar and any god who will hear his fitful plea for deliverance. Psychologists such as Fromm are all too aware of the manner in which religion provides a perfect escape for the man who neurotic character who will do anything rather than face his own psychological disorder.
Believing in God is attractive because it provides us with a fixed point on which to focus our ever-changing minds. God remains as
he is while we undergo a lifetime of change. God is static while we are cyclones. We cannot predict who and what we will be from one day to the next. We can predict that two plus two will always equal four, that ice will always feel cold, and that rain will always be wet, but cannot say whether we will be sane or insane, happy or sad, alive or dead tomorrow. Some
philosophers have speculated that the more rational we become, the more certainty we will know and the less disaffected by vagaries we will be. It sounds good. But our reliance on external points of fixity lessens when we become spontaneous enough to accept the flow and flux that makes us what we are one moment to the next. As Carl Jung said, ‚Change is the essence of life. Be
willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.‛
Although philosophical questions have been asked from time immemorial, today the vast majority of people wonder why they should look to philosophy for meaning. It appears convoluted and abstract, and does not seem to be worth the effort. Well, that is where people are quite wrong. Philosophy is vitally important and does open the way to knowledge. It focuses the mind and creates a foundation from which to logically examine reality. It also allows one to examine their own thinking, although it is this
feature that puts people off. According to many philosophers, such as Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, and Kierkegaard, a man becomes truly human when he moves from the hylic, hedonic, or base level of consciousness to the philosophical level. It is only when a man uses his reason to decipher what is true from what is false, and seeks to solve the conundrum of his own existence, that he distinguishes himself from other men in the world around him and from everything else in creation.
Some people are contemptuous of philosophy because they see it as the fruitless pastime of an elite leisured class. Life moves far too fast for lazy ruminations. I have to rush to meet my goals and achieve success, so there is no time for deep thought on abstract
issues that have nothing to do with my desire and fun. Such are the common responses from people with a knee-jerk dismissive attitude toward philosophy.
Of course, a few people do wish to find out what is going on in the world. They do seek explanations for their lives. They do become critical, and do judge what they see. They are inclined to look within and observe how their own minds work. As a result, they often become better human beings, which is the point of the exercise. However, some people often seek to convey their personal discoveries to others. They imagine that by sharing knowledge they will help the world. This belief is common even among top philosophers and has been the habit from the dawn of history. Those familiar with Athenian history, for example, know that Socrates convened symposiums to talk over deep matters with his associates. Philosophers such as Plato, Descartes, Hume, Berkeley, and Kierkegaard composed some of their works as dialogues between two people, or as letters to such and such a friend. In this way they were able to communicate to the public at large in a light, conversational manner. Other philosophers, such as Descartes, Montaigne and Nietzsche, wrote in a style that evoked an intimate rapport with their readers. Other philosophers, such as Chuang Tzu, Lao Tzu, and Rumi wrote down their thoughts in a poetic manner. The writings of the great Taoists is accessible and yet profound, unlike that of some philosophers (such as Fichte, Kant, Hegel, Wittgenstein, Quine, Carnap, Derrida, and others) whose work is notoriously intricate, obscure, or convoluted. The abstractness and ponderousness of certain works certainly puts people off philosophy. This is a pity because the mysteries of life should be understandable to people
from any class or creed. They should be straightforward even to souls who are not able to read or write. All that should be necessary for the voyage of discovery to begin is the will to know.
The rest comes in time along the way.
Of course, rational people know that philosophy is very important. They also know that philosophers have not
completely resolved a lot of important quandaries. This is not to say that pertinent questions have not been addressed, or that answers of various sorts have not been in abundance.
Nevertheless, although a man can put forth an answer to a particular question, it does not mean that his answer is sustainable, now or over time, or that it is right. Students of philosophy know it is a common practice to philosophically refute unsustainable notions without necessarily adding anything to replace whatever is rejected or to clarify the original question not satisfactorily explained. Refutation is one thing, solving is another. The modern-day philosopher Willard Quine openly stated that the ability to refute weak points of a philosopher’s work does not in any way mean that the refuter is himself a philosopher. On the importance of philosophy, the German Idealist philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel wrote:
Every individual is a blind link in the chain of absolute necessity, along which the world develops. Every individual can raise himself to domination over a great length of this chain only if he realizes the goal of this great necessity and, by virtue of this knowledge, learns to speak the magic words which evoke its shape. The knowledge of how to simultaneously absorb and elevate oneself beyond the total energy of suffering and antithesis that has dominated the world and all forms of its development for thousands of years - this knowledge can be gathered from philosophy alone
In fact, Hegel believed that it is only when men arrive at a truly philosophical or rational level of existence that absolute
knowledge of God and Self are available to them. This is because, in Hegel’s view, each man is involved in a rational process of awakening that has been occurring throughout history. As man progresses – as he becomes more rational and philosophical in his understanding – he ‚sublates‛ or elevates his consciousness
above everything that stands in the way of his ultimate freedom. That which consciousness overcomes or ‚negates‛ is not
destroyed, but taken into consciousness to become instrumental and invaluable to man’s sublation. Hegel had his concept of
sublation or transcendence in mind when he wrote on the
importance of philosophical inquiry. To Hegel the centuries of philosophizing was not a haphazard endeavor fraught with
contradiction and conflict, as one might at first glance imagine. Rather it was a rational process of thought, embodying what he
referred to as the ‚Idea,‛ that marked the various stages toward
final freedom and awareness. Hegel shares his vision of the philosophical process in part one of his Encyclopedia of
...a much misunderstood phenomenon in the history of philosophy —
the refutation of one system by another, of an earlier by a later. Most commonly the refutation is taken in a purely negative sense to mean that the system refuted has ceased to count for anything, has been set aside and done for. Were it so, the history of philosophy would be, of all studies, most saddening, displaying, as it does, the refutation of every system which time has brought forth. Now although it may be admitted that every philosophy has been refuted, it must be in an equal degree maintained that no philosophy has been refuted. And that in two ways. For first, every philosophy that deserves the name always embodies the Idea: and secondly, every system represents one particular factor or particular stage in the evolution of the Idea. The refutation of a philosophy, therefore, only means that its barriers are crossed, and its special principle reduced to a factor in the completer principle that follows
Many of Hegel’s profound ideas prefigured those of Sigmund
Freud, who, with most of his associates, knew that when it comes to consciousness, everything that occurs no matter how great or trivial is eternally preserved. Every stage of the human
evolutionary process, and every event in an individual’s life, is
retained. As Freud said, ‚Nothing can be brought to an end in
the unconscious; nothing is past or forgotten.‛ With this in mind,
we can see that there is indeed a deep, unbreakable connection between Self and world, microcosm and macrocosm, psychic and physical energy. We can see that it is philosophy that opens our
eyes to the connections that exist between ourselves and the universe that surrounds us.
Ayn Rand Civilization is the process of setting man free from men –
My philosophy - Objectionism - is very simple to understand. Primarily Taoist in the purest sense, it is the philosophy of the ‚Uncarved Block‛ and ‚Unhewn Dolmen.‛ Elements of my
philosophy reiterate and reinforce some ideas advanced by previous sages, but it also serves to refute many ideas put forth over the centuries which continue to perplex us.
Does my philosophy provide answers? Yes, and in a
straightforward manner. Do I hold a degree from a university? No I do not. However, because an expert in philosophy has letters after his name, or because he works in a prestigious college, is acclaimed as the ‚bee’s knees‛ throughout the world, or is a legend in his own mind, does not mean he has a clue as to what is going on in the world or that his ideas amount to anything special. When we study the history of philosophy, we find plenty of evidence for what I am saying; plenty of evidence.
Nevertheless, in general, the questions of philosophy are vitally important. Seeking answers to them is equally important. It is strange that no one man has been able to arrive at total insight into the problems of existence. No man from the time of Plato that is. But there are men who have come very close to the answer. At least that is the case in my opinion. On the other hand, there have been, and still are, many philosophers, some well known and respected, who, despite their ingenious reasoning, came nowhere near the truth. Many famous sages have had their arguments and ideas decimated by
contemporaries and later critics. In other words, the philosophical process is the important thing, even if it does not lead to a sustainable set of logical answers. This might at first sound like a futile endeavor to those who have not experienced the beauty and inherent meaning of a philosophical inquiry, or to those who believe that success and glory is all that matter in life. As one ancient sage put it, the eyes that only see the road’s end,
are blind to the landscape all around.
Naturally, not all philosophers come from the same tradition. They do not always have the same interests and don’t always
examine the same questions. Even those who do deal with