Oct 12, 2014

Extreme Individualism and Lessons

Extreme individualism. That was the phase I was in when I came across Atlas Shrugged. And what better fuel could that extreme individualism get! Working day and night, working alone, not needing or wanting anyone to interfere.. deciding what I want and deciding to focus on just I. "My life". I ended up disrespecting many people who mattered. Neglecting them. And I guess I paid the price.

Luckily, I came out of that phase quite quickly. It took one single episode to bring me out of the extreme. Afterwards I realized that some injuries from that phase healed with time but some damages were permanent. I used to think that I had to go through that phase to understand myself better. But at what cost?

I simply regret what happened. All the disrespect and neglect I had for people who matter the most.. and everything was wrapped so well in arguments that I couldn't see what I was doing.

Once I came out of the extremity, I remember re-reading that book to find the 'fault' in the arguments.. It had an answer to every question I could raise at that time. I guess either that book is extremely well written, or I was not able to find the loophole I wanted to see.

I stopped reading the book. And I realized there was no need to fight with those arguments. I could simply ignore them. Just because you can't prove something's right does not mean it is not right. You may not be capable enough to prove your point. But you may still be good enough to see the right point, without any explicit explanation. Words are just tools, used to communicate, express, decorate. Some craftsmen use them well. Others don't. Good literature need not be right. And verbal description or derivation may not be always available for the right points.

Now I know that I need not accept every challenge that comes my way. And more importantly, I should not surrender just because I couldn't 'win' a debate in an event (or many events).

But of course, even today, the right things are not always visible. Sometimes I make mistakes by ignoring my intuition. Sometimes, by assuming the wrong.

I am glad that I have this bit figured out that words are different than intentions. Also that if we can't 'see' or derive things, it doesn't mean they don't exist.

I hope I learn to use these lessons in routine life. I still have to learn to understand others. Empathize. Rely. Develop my intuition. Communicate that intuition (with myself, and others)

Long journey, ha?


  1. I know... I too went through the same after reading and being under the influcence of Fountainhead. I became obsessed with what is my view and my take on things and kept labourisouly expounding and expressing my doctrines... my views on every thing and shrugging off how people close to me were getting impacted.... I convinced my self to be a morally superior person to all around me... Then one day it struck me that those protoganists in Ayn Rand;s novels were all loners,,,, all single people.. where as i am more than just a person... i am son... a brother.. a friend.. and so on.. and i do attach values to relations which these characters never did.... It took a hell of time to build back those bridges i stomped with my ego... but better late than never

    1. The thing is, it is not just relationships that got affected. Even work did. I became closed about what the project should be and how the outcome should look, what purpose, audience should it serve etc. It simply closed many point of views. In my case, relationships had to take most damage, and maybe that is why it got highlighted in the post. But I don't think extreme individualism would've worked for me even if I were a 'loner'. It is what they say.. extreme of anything is not good.


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