Ayn Rand didn’t deny feelings but she didn’t major in them, by any stretch. Reason and the intellect were her guide to life and behavior.
I’m recovering. I can’t say I’m through it yet, but I’m in a process. What they don’t tell you about recovery is that it gets a whole lot worse before it gets better. Using an analogy from Glennon Doyle Melton, dealing with all of my dysfunctions is like recovering from frostbite. It’s all of those feelings that you’ve numbed for so long that now are there, present with you. At first, it just feels kind of tingly and uncomfortable, but then the emotions start to pierce like daggers. The pain, the loss, the guilt, the same: all piled on top of you with nowhere to run. But what I learned during that time is that, sitting with the pain and the joy of being a human being, while refusing to run for any exits, is the only way to become a real human being.
Ayn Rand and Feelings
Ayn Rand was not that big on feelings. She didn’t deny feelings but she didn’t major in them, by any stretch. Reason and the intellect were her guide to life and behavior. That’s one reason why I think I have had such difficulty with emotions: identifying my own emotions, facing up to them, expressing them, and dealing with the emotions of others.
From The Soul of Atlas
Ayn Rand’s universe, on the other hand, is predominantly impersonal. Emotions exist, but they need to be harnessed to serve the higher faculty of the individual’s reason. Personal relationships serve the same purpose: to celebrate the heroic creation of value that sustains and enhances the life of the individual. On a cosmic scale, the Objectivist sees an impersonal world. (23)
Beyond my Randian Education
It wasn’t just my informal schooling in Objectivism that led me to bypass deep emotions in daily practice.
Growing up, I learned that emotions are unnecessary at best, and uncomfortable and unmanageable at worst. When my parents fought, it was terrifying to me. These people who were responsible for me—the ones who kept me safe and took care of me—were fighting. As they were pushing each other away (sometimes literally), they were breaking me apart emo-tionally. Emotions, I learned, are dangerous. They must be contained. (7)
What do you think is the most balanced way to deal with your emotions?