Religion, Objectivity and Dilemma

Imagine a typical South Indian family, mix it with bunch of obnoxious relatives and extra ordinary amounts of food. There you have it, my family. I’ve had a pretty normal childhood, so to speak. No Sunday was complete without the delicious chicken curry, a movie or a visit to the temple. See, where I place religion, pretty much at the bottom of the ladder. Not that I’m an atheist but that’s just the way it has been.

Even though I’ve never consciously thought about it. Religion has been an integral part of my life, thanks to my mum. Then adolescence happened, I moved away to a hostel and that was that. I came back from school and started looking around at the same old same old differently. For me, religion is about that visit to the temple now and then, the usual festivals but more importantly the food that is an inevitable part of those festivals. 😀

But somewhere along the way, I started reading up about all those wars that are waged in the name if religion from time immemorial. Isn’t it because of the same kind of passivity that I’m displaying that all of them ended the way they did. To not a give a moments thought about what we are following, what we are doing.

This then led me to question my code of morality, the principles underlying them. For I don’t want to follow a code because it feels right. I want to be able to answer when someone questions about the choices that I make and I make those choices based on my code of ethics. For aren’t Hitlers actions a reflection of his code! See, it’s that important!

My quest eventually led me to ayn rand, for my brother is a hard core objectivist and whenever he’s around he compels you to think about consciously making a choice, about everything. I’m being completely honest here when I say that I did read atlas shrugged but never completely got it, if you know what I mean. Then I inherited a book from my Anna, it’s called Loving Life by Craig Biddle. Now this I got, because he takes it apart for you. Micron by micron, so now you have no choice but to understand. And understand I did, each chapter was ground breaking. Really! Every little thing that I read there made so much sense, but it got difficult after a while.

To question everything, to realize that every single move that we make is the result of our circumstances and the way we interpret them and that it’s important to think, the most important exercise that most of us fail to perform. There came a time when I just couldn’t go ahead.  For I felt that it asked of me of a thing which I can’t give, not at this point, emotional detachment.

I feel one needs to be completely okay to analyze each belief that you have held to the test and to learn from it. I couldn’t make myself do it, couldn’t shoulder such a huge responsibility of being responsible for myself, completely responsible for myself. SoI left it unfinished. Guilty! But let me not speak of objectivism, there are many people out there who have taken it up as a science and live by it. One of them is this one, if you are interested, you can read his blog here.

I have this analogy. Ever been awake at night? Toiling to get into the sleep mode. If you were and if you have a clock in your room, you’ll understand this. In the dead of the night, we sometimes hear the ticking of the clock. We completely forgot about it’s existence but once you hear it, there’s no escaping it. You keep hearing it again and again, even if you don’t want to. Tick Tock, Tick Tock it goes… Ayn rand and Loving Life are like that. Once you know of it’s existence. It’s hard to forget it. I have picked up that book again and again but could never gather enough courage to finish it. But even the little that I know has helped shape me.

I’ve formed an interesting theory about religion. My fundamental assumption is based on my observation that no one and I mean no one likes to be alone in this world. And religion provides a perfect solution to allay that base fear. Through the millions and millions of gods that we Hindus have, we’re never truly alone if we believe in them. We always have a hand on our head, per se. And we enjoy a sense of peace.

I’ve never gathered enough courage to renounce that security. I don’t know if I ever will. But I’m trying to find what fits. Let’s see where the journey takes me.

6 thoughts on “Religion, Objectivity and Dilemma

  1. “Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world–to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.” — The Fountainhead

  2. Hi Dreamer,

    I’m glad you’re enjoying Loving Life, and I hope you’ll finish the book.

    I’m not sure how far you’ve read, but there is a section in chapter 4 (“Objective Moral Values”) where I discuss the respective roles of reason and emotion and show that rational egoism calls not for emotional detachment but rather for emotional integration—that is, harmony between your thinking (reason) and your feeling (emotion). If you haven’t yet read that chapter, I urge you to read it.

    Also, chapter 6 (“Objective Moral Virtues”) elaborates on the importance of integrating reason and emotion, by means of several examples showing what happens when one grants each mental faculty its proper role—namely, reason as one’s means of knowledge, and emotion as one’s means of experiencing one’s values—and what happens when one erroneously treats one’s emotions as a means of knowledge.

    In short, if you keep reading, I think you’ll see that emotional detachment is incompatible with egoism.

    In any event, I’m delighted that you’ve found value in what you’ve read so far, and I wish you great success in your endeavors.

    Craig Biddle

    • This is a surprise!! Thank you for taking out time to go through my post! 🙂

      One of these days, I’m going to gather enough courage to finish it.

      Hmm.. Integrating reason and emotion. I have never quite thought about it that way. Now I guess my path will become easier! And thanks to Ayn Rand and you, now I appreciate the true meaning of words like “Selfishness” and “Egoism” and know that they are not bad qualities like people project them to be, but they are very essential for ones well being!

      Thank you Craig! 🙂

  3. That’s true. It’s like having an imaginary friend (only if you’re religious you don’t think they’re imaginary). I think it could be good, as long as your imaginary friend doesn’t tell you to hate people.

    • Hey!

      Thanks for visiting my space!

      I used to think that too. But I guess at some point or the other, we’ll come to a point where we’ll have to choose.

      I haven’t come to that point though!

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