Monday, May 09, 2005

Objectivism and Excommunication

I remember about 10 years ago I got involved with a local Objectivist group. They were studying the book called Objectivisim, the Philosophy of Ayn Rand (OPAR). I guess they were already into the 5th chapter when I joined in.

The first day I participated I walked into the meeting and everyone was gathered around the coffee table looking at a letter. Apparently, there was someone who had participated in some previous discussions with the group and I guess he didn't agree with a specific point of view. I don't really know the context of the letter; it isn't important to my point. What I witnessed were a bunch of people snarling and laughing at a letter written by someone who was very frustrated at not being understood. This was someone that was "excommunicated" from the organization for not agreeing.

I remember what an odd feeling this left in me. It was really pretty disgusting. This idea of judging people as "immoral" or "irrational" and then tossing them out is really disheartening. I don't really believe that this is the natural progression of this philosophy. I am of the belief that if one is truly secure in what one believes then opening up and listening to someone's point of view to find where the differences are can't be so threatening that excommunication is the solution.

This philosophy means a lot to me and has had a tremendous impact on my life. The idea that I might one day start throwing people out of my life over differences of opinion turns my stomach. This is a choice and, obviously, one that is within my control.

I have decided, I won't be excommunicating people from my life over differences of opinion.

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