“The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do.” –Ayn Rand
Existence exists. Even as I write this sentence I am getting the green underline that indicates a grammar mistake, which further proves my point. It is redundant to say it and that’s what makes it self-evident. I have discussed this idea in one of my first videos, “Aristotle’s Metaphysics.” It is the simple law of identity. It states that: “each thing is the same with itself and different from another”: “A is A and not ~(not)A.”
Existence is the height of objective essence, so if existence is objective then why would ethics be subjective? If we are living in a universe of rules then why wouldn’t we play by the rules? Constantly fighting the rules of metaphysics is similar to fighting the rules of physics. You can spend your life fighting gravity or you can embrace the law and work with it.
It is the same with ethics. Our society is perpetuating the ideas of altruism and collectivism, when it goes against our very nature. We are self-sustaining individuals. To work within a group mentality is like fighting gravity, it is asking to fall flat on our face instead of fly. We are born as individuals, we are not born attached to another person’s life. So when we think as individuals we have the ability to achieve our highest potential, because we are not denying reality, but using it to get what we want.
Ayn Rand states that man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
A man who does what makes him happy will produce more efficiently and will yield a better product. Just imagine a whole society of happy producers and laborers. If we do what we love, we will never go hungry, because we use productive achievement as our noblest activity. When we produce the things that will make our lives happier and more efficient we create a better society for us to live in and this fulfills our virtue of the pursuit of happiness as our highest goal.
Finally, we do all of this by using reason as our absolute. Reason is man’s only means of grasping reality and of acquiring knowledge. As I’ve said before, denying reality can never bring us happiness and productive achievement. True knowledge and understanding of our abilities and limitations allows us to lower our limitations and raise our abilities through learning. A happy man is one that gathers knowledge and uses this knowledge for productive achievement.
But remember: “[Reason] is a faculty that man has to exercise by choice. Thinking is not an automatic function. In any hour and issue of his life, man is free to think or to evade that effort.” –Ayn Rand