A Credenda: My Philosophy of Life

1992-06-21

Life is the ultimate value, for each and every one of us. The most important, highest purpose of my life is my own happiness -- to live a full life of achievement and enjoyment, and to help others in my life to do the same, to the extent of the connection between us.

My life is what I make of it. What I do with the raw materials of my life is up to me. I must choose to achieve and enjoy. I must decide what I want to achieve -- and then go after it. My achievements will be an expression of what I hold important. I want to express my values through my work and through my other achievements.

I have chosen two avenues of work through which to make my values real in the world: philosophy and music. In Greek, ϕιλοςοϕια και μουςικη: "love of wisdom" and "the fusion of words and melody". Nietzsche's "philosophy that sings". Philosophy in the broadest sense, as including not only theoretical concerns but also pratice, mentoring, counseling, Socrates' "healing of souls" (ψυχοθεραπθια), καθαρςις as clearing things up intellectually for people. And μουςικη in the Sapphic sense -- the high union of thought and emotion, words and melody, hitting the mind and heart simultaneously.

I believe in destiny in a positive sense: it is my destiny to work in these two areas because it is here that I can make my most unique, important, powerful contributions.

...

Why philosophy? Why am I attracted to it? Why did I "become philosophized" in the first place?

Because of the power I saw in the union of thought and passion, of the life-affirming strength of a whole system of thought dedicated to the premise that the happiness and success of the individual is paramount. That is what I experienced on reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged (and still experience on reading Anthem).

Why not art, then? Isn't that what art is -- a union of thought and passion?

And why am I so fascinated by that union? What is that power, for me? It is the power to inspire but also to guide, to help. To guide yourself. This perhaps is what draws me to counseling or therapy: the helping of others to guide themselves. The best guide is always within (one's δαιμων). How does one live as an individualist? What are the actual life-principles of individualism?

Is that what I want to add to the world? I know that I do want to add value to what I've received -- I want to create value, to create something that will last (even if only as a first step that others will move beyond).


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