Have you met John Galt? He is the man without pain or fear or guilt, because he is the man who is sure of his convictions. Sure enough to see that society is perishing from an orgy of unreason, and to set about changing the world. When you meet him in the pages of the classic best seller Atlas Shrugged, you may ask yourself: "Could anybody in real life be that sure of his convictions?"
The philosopher who wrote about John Galt not only answered yes to that question, but maintained that certainty is the normal state of a properly functioning mind. She backed that up by creating a revolution in epistemology, the study of our means of knowledge—the science that gives the rules of thinking.
Ayn Rand began the revolution by writing Atlas Shrugged. In the course of a fascinating story, you see how heroes think, and how villains think—and who wins, and why. She finished the revolution by writing Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, which shows how you can learn to think like John Galt. By applying her radically new theory of concepts, you can learn to banish doubt and guilt from your mind, and bring in certainty.
"Infallibility," Ayn Rand wrote, "is not a precondition of knowing what one does know, of firmness in one's convictions, and of loyalty to one's values." Certainty has nothing to do with omniscience. It has everything to do with confidence. When you start with the evidence you can observe, and have confidence in the process you use to draw conclusions from that evidence, then your conclusions are as certain to you as John Galt's are to him. Then you can act on your conclusions with the same unclouded efficacy.
The process is called reason. Getting it right means learning how to focus your mind with precision on one thing, while staying vividly aware of the relationship of that one thing to all other things. That is the gist of human reason: awareness not just of objects, but of the relationships among all objects.
To see how it is done, you can take a tour of the functioning of your mind. You start with free will, the self-regulating ability of your cognition. You visit similarity, which gives the means of grouping things together so a limited mind can handle unlimited volumes of data. You study concept formation and making definitions, which can keep any number of relationships straight. You see how principles are formed by induction, and how everything depends on logic.
The tour can be taken all at once, or a little at a time. You can start now to rebuild your mind in the image of John Galt. It is just a mouse click away.
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