Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Reality and The Axiom of Identity

This Christmas holiday was a very welcome break for me because it allowed me to do something I had wanted so much to do for a while now – read all the new books that I recently bought! So, over the weekend, I was able to complete my reading of Ayn Rand’s “We The Living” – which is the most fascinating work of fiction I have read – even better than Rand’s two other epic fictions, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I still have two other books to go, though I’m reading both of them sporadically and simultaneously – if that makes any sense! [A detailed revelation of my experience and thoughts while reading “We The Living” might follow as a separate post.] What I want to bring up in this post is an incredible insight I stumbled upon while reading “We The Living”. It is most certainly not a book on philosophy – though it deals with some very heavy ideas. And yet, I found that this novel carried Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism most eloquently than many of her other formal writings on philosophy. The amazing thing is that she began writing this novel when she was only 25 – way before she fully and consciously grasped her own philosophical premises – and the novel reveals her rudimentary philosophical beginnings to some extent. Rand’s final and formal philosophy of Objectivism rests fundamentally on three axioms: Existence, Identity, and Consciousness. I have always been able to grasp these axioms independently and understand their veracity. It would be self-defeating not to. However, it was only over this Christmas weekend, while I was reading “We The Living” that I finally and fully understood the grand scope of Objectivism’s other proposition that Existence is itself Identity. This is the truth I realized from having read the novel: Existence is itself Identity because of the reciprocal relationship between reality and the structure/nature of reality. Existence is. Identity is what it is. The entire structure of all logic rests on this recognition of existence being the same as identity. In order for one to begin the most basic syllogism, one has to begin by saying “A is” – which is a statement of existence and identity at the same time. One cannot say “A is A” or that “A cannot be non-A in the same respect at the same time” without implicitly accepting the existence of “A” and simultaneously also admitting the fact that “A” is something that “non-A” is not. Thus, it is only the axioms of Existence and Identity that can allow for the logical principle of non-contradiction; without one, there cannot be the other. Thus, objective reality is simply (and also profoundly) an expression of these axioms and of all the logical structure that are made possible by these axioms. Hence, those people who argue that “logic is restrictive, stultifying, ‘human’” etc. clearly do not grasp the inseparable bond between all that is logically based on axiomatic premises, and objective reality itself. And a further implication I realized was of their applicability to atheism. Logic (and consequently, reality) allows for atheism to be the only metaphysical – or “spiritual” if you will - truth because any other supernatural belief rests on self-defeating premises or contradictions – which, due to the violation of the axiom of Identity, cannot possibly have existence. Ayn Rand vociferously argued that contradictions cannot exist in reality. She lucidly grasped the truth that abstract principles of metaphysics and epistemology had a direct and logically inseparable relationship with objective reality. That is certainly another heavy blow to Cartesian and Kantian philosophies.


Blogger Semperviva said...

I would make a veeery bad and yet irnically a very good objectivist, lol

12/27/2005 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Semperviva said...


12/27/2005 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Semperviva said...

How weird that we were writing on the same topic simultaneously, without knowing it.

12/27/2005 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Semperviva said...

what do u think of the segemnt of chapter 1?

12/27/2005 01:40:00 PM  

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