Posted by JeanWinter on February 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm
When I read The Fountainhead I got very annoyed with Ayn Rand’s position that altruism is a misguided philosophy. She seemed to be saying that since it’s a dog eat dog world, we should look out for ourselves without a care about the state of the rest of humankind. That whole philosophy just felt so selfish and self-serving. At the time, I took major issue with this philosophical point of view. With age has come a tempered response to Rand’s philosophy.
I do believe that I should help others as I am able and so moved to do. AND I know now that there is a trap in always choosing to act from the platform of service and helping others. I know that I have a great propensity to see the world as ‘all or nothing at all’, black and white with few shades of grey, selfish or giving. I have not, throughout my life, occupied a middle ground in doing anything much. That includes how I have interacted in the lives of others I have felt the need to rescue.
Even as I railed against what I thought of as the expectations of others, I felt that I had to protect everyone. I cannot count the times that, even as I was at war with my sisters, I felt the need to make things better for them. After my father died, I felt the need to care for my mother and make her life easier. I don’t think that I was so arrogant as to believe that I knew best. I just didn’t want those I care about to have to deal with confusion, pain, or disappointment. I wanted to take their burden unto myself. [ ... ]
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