With a shrug (originally published at “Just a thought”   Leave a comment

[Originally published at “Just a Thought — Mental Illness Meets Common Sense”]

Today is April 15th.  It is Tax Day, 2011 [tax day actually moved up a few days, but you get the picture]. With it comes the release of Atlas Shrugged The Movie Part One.

I’ve been a fan of the novel Atlas Shrugged and a student of Ayn Rand’s philosophy for nearly twenty years.

Objectivism has allowed me to shrug off  what should have been a completely  debilitating illness.  Without Objectivism it is doubtful I would have maintained full employment, written a book, maintained a home, or be writing this or anything else.  My ability to manage a foot and a half in reality and reason – via Objectivism, mitigates against much of the effects of my schizophrenia.

Objectivism’s rational approach to life has helped me to  recognize the delusions and paranoia for what they are when I have recurrences.  My refusal to drop the use of my faculties helps me to understand the nature of the delusions and the paranoia in ways which would be impossible otherwise.

In short, during the fourteen years and counting of this horrendous illness, it has been Ayn Rand’s unique philosophy for living on earth which has allowed me to live in the real world, not in an institution or group home in a netherworld of ever present bouts of  pain, mental stupor,  and lost dreams. Such is the fate, faced by most schizophrenics, that I have happily avoided.

Atlas Shrugged the film, at least Part One of it, arrived in theaters today.

Nearly twenty years after my first reading of the novel, I will finally see it come alive on a screen.

I likely will wait until I can watch the film with a reasonable amount of — drumroll and cue the irony — objectivity.

I must confess — as an Objectivist this is difficult to acknowledge to myself — I am unable to view this film this soon into its run with any real objectivity.

I know all the flaws that are to be expected given the nature of independent film — and in adapting a classic — but the issue is far broader than film making.  I lack objectivity.  I would be far too critical about the films demonstration of and commitment to the philosophy and the story, and not nearly critical enough about the film making.

The story and the philosophy it dramatizes — a way of living that has guided me for nearly twenty years of my life, the past fourteen of which absent the Objectivist philosophy would have been unlivable — these are far too personal and close to home to allow for objectivity — yet.

Eventually I will see the actions and the works of the heroes who guided me through the best days, work, and thoughts of my life (as well as the worst); I will finally hear (and not merely imagine) the triumphant speeches, conversations, and loving whispers of men and women who inspired me for so long.

When I eventually see the film I will watch it through a mind that can comprehend and appreciate the magnitude of what Dagney, Fransisco, John, Hank, Ellis, Hugh,  Eddie, Ragnar,  and so many others do.

I am able to comprehend because — despite the condition that I must experience each day — these men and women showed by the rightness of their actions (thanks to the pen of a brilliant thinker) how to live in the world.

I am grateful beyond measure that Atlas Shrugged.

Without Ayn Rand and her philosophy for living on earth, I would have a quasi existence, not a life.  I’d be existing not on earth or in reality, but in the hazy nightmare of a fully schizophrenic mind.

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