By Tara Smith
This course examines Ayn Rand’s rich, relatively under-explored concept of sense of life.
Part 1 examines what a sense of life is, considering how it is formed, how it manifests itself in ordinary experience, and the exact character of a “sense,” as opposed to a thought or a specific emotion. We see, in fundamental terms, what a sense of life is a sense of.
Part 2 validates the concept, paying particular attention to its expression in art and to Ayn Rand’s vivid portrayal of sense of life in We the Living.
In Part 3, we engage why this matters: the power of a man’s sense of life in his personal pursuit of happiness. A deeper appreciation of the role of this phenomenon both illuminates key aspects of the Objectivist ethics and, on a more visceral plane, can unlock significant impediments to experiencing the happiness that rational egoism is designed to deliver.
Specifically, we trace how sense of life bears implications for the fundamental choice to live; the importance of pleasure and of desire; the objective character of values; the “ego” in egoism; the nature of joy. Correlatively, a deeper attunement to one’s own sense of life can help us to combat the over-intellectualism and rationalism that sometimes mar our application of Objectivist ideas and to realize the “heaven” that we all, like Kira, dream of.
This course was recorded at the 2011 Objectivist Summer Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
(MP3 download; 3 hrs., 4 mins., 132.16 MB)