By Tomasz Bethke, Poland, Class of 2022
Last Friday, we had a great honor to participate in the Objectivist Seminar hosted by Carl Barney: a traveler and an entrepreneur. He fell in love with Ayn Rand’s works and philosophy, which changed his entire life. He started promoting and working for Objectivist philosophy with a group of private universities, cooperating with institutions such as the Ayn Rand Institute, and establishing the Prometheus Foundation, which supports institutions and activists who want to promote and develop Objectivist ideas.
The Objectivist Seminar was scheduled to introduce participants to Objectivist philosophy. The seminar started with a fundamental question: Do we need philosophy? and highlighted the presence of philosophy in everybody’s life. The simplest reference to life is to organize five aspects in an X-shaped hierarchy. The lowest branches of this letter are the metaphysics that answer the question: where are we? and the epistemology, which is asking: how we know? The crossing between these two branches is made for ethics, and the question is: what should we do? When we know all of these answers, we can move upwards to two branches: politics – how should we live? and art – what is art and why do we need it? The simplest conclusion with answering all of these questions is to understand the idea. And by understanding, it is meant to know what stands under the concept.
The day-long seminar included lectures, networking, and rich conversations on one aspect that complies with Ayn Rand’s philosophy. It is simply the love for life. Man’s goal is to flourish and live in spiritual and material fulfillment. To flourish instead of just existing. An individual must identify his values, imagine a goal, his personal heaven, demand it and make it happen. Only living and thinking creatures can pursue greater values such as those.
We learned that the most important tool is to understand and digest reality. It is supported by human’s senses, but the reason makes an unlit mate decision. As Ayn Rand said, man can choose between thinking and not thinking. After the Objectivist Seminar, it was clear that thinking is a proper way to achieve fulfillment and happiness. Man’s goal or project starts with the idea that transforms into a physical object. It’s a significant reminder for me what Carl Barney said at the beginning of the Seminar: that planning is thinking. By witnessing his personal history and being a guest in his beautiful house, which could be designed by Howard Roark itself, the house that every detail respected the man’s mind and manifested deep love for beauty, we couldn’t be more sure and more inspired to act and think.
Once again, we are grateful for attending a unique seminar with Carl Barney and Craig Biddle, experiencing the Objectivist philosophy from two great sources: from the master of theory and the practitioner. Although the seminar ended, our journey had just started. We are happy that we increased our philosophical, spiritual and human resources. We are even happier that we will meet our lecturers during the incoming TOS-CON that will take place in Colorado in June. We hope to increase our knowledge and experience with gratefulness and growing love for life.