A few hundred years ago, rights were unknown, and slavery was taken for granted. John Locke built on Aristotle to set us on a path of learning how to actually live in Nature's paradise. Then Immanuel Kant convinced us we couldn't learn. Now Ayn Rand shows us we can learn. In the long reach of history, the rational animal has gradually become self-aware, gradually learned the advantage of logic, feebly begun to appreciate reason, and by that means has greatly improved his health, his nutrition, and his longevity.
Progress from animal consciousness, which regulates behavior but not itself, to human consciousness able to regulate itself, has taken many millennia. But we live at a decisive moment. We are on the edge of moving from "That's the way I think, and I can't do anything about it," to, "That way of thinking isn't working, so I better change it." The self-regulator is becoming aware of self-regulation.
Serbs and Albanians have been using the same dispute method for eons. They are probably aware it hasn't worked yet. They are probably not aware of any alternative. You disagree, you kill. Never mind that your victim is mortal, so will die anyway. Never mind that ideas cannot be killed with people. If killing is the only method you've got, that's what you do.
"I guess they're just savages," says the pious commentator, perfectly unaware that his method of guessing is just as futile as their method of killing. Never mind that guessing is a gamble. Never mind that guessing is the mental method behind the killing. If guessing is the only method you've got, that's what you do.
What the world will learn from Ayn Rand is that killing is not the way to prevail, and guessing is not the way to knowledge. She showed how to take the guesswork out of ethics, and therefore out of politics. Objective economists have shown how to take the guesswork out of production and trade. An objective physicist, Lewis Little, has shown how to take the guesswork out of physics. Guessing is considered either the only way or the easy way. It is on the verge of being seen as the hard way.
When you project what the end of guessing will mean, our present world seems a miserable place in comparison. But if you compare to the past, you can see that the quality of the guesses has improved steadily, and the world has kept pace. It is now an obvious guess that guessing is not good enough. Nobody wants to guess at space travel computations. They just guess at methods for happiness.
When that stops, misery will stop.
|Next Essay||Previous Essay||Essays Index||Home|