Epicureanism, Objectivism And The Predisposition Of The Brain
It is often assumed, that people either develop or adopt a philosophy and then consciously decide to live in accordance.
I am convinced, that it is the other way around. People first feel comfortable with a specific way of life, which is innate in their brain, and then they develop or adopt the philosophy most suitable as a conscious representation. People following their own inclinations are prone or at risk to experience cognitive dissonance, as long as they consider themselves as deviant from what they are supposed to conform to. The change of the philosophy allows them to be in harmony and congruence with themselves.
I speculate, that there is a bell curve of what drives human behavior. At one end, there is the hedonist brain, which has a high urge to restore homeostasis as a consequence of instinctive needs, and which also gets the strongest stimulation to its pleasure center from physical stimuli. At the other end is the Epicurean brain, which is guided predominantly by rationality and less by instinctive need for homeostasis, and which is most sensitive and responsive to emotional and intellectual stimulation of the pleasure center. The brains of the majority of people are more balanced in the middle between the two extremes.
Since the hedonistic and balanced brain is sufficiently in accordance with the Darwinian fitness for procreation and the survival of the species, people with such brains often do not need a philosophy except they just consider themselves as normal. Only people with the predominantly Epicurean brain feel often compelled to define themselves by a philosophy, because the get marginalized due to their apparent defiance against the animal nature.
Epicurus has done a very good job in formulating a philosophy fitting this kind of a brain. He had the wisdom to limit his advice to telling individuals, what they can do to live a happy life for themselves and in interaction with others. As far as I know, he does not claim, that his philosophy is equally suitable for everybody, he only offered it to those, who choose to share his garden community or who were interested.
Someone suggested to me the objectivism of Ayn Rand. It seems to me, that she created this philosophy to accommodate her Epicurean brain. But in contrast to Epicurus, she projects her subjective experience of her own brain upon others and believes that her philosophy is equally suitable for all human beings.
"Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself."
This quote makes a statement clearly against procreation. Ayn Rand omits to acknowledge, that hedonistic and average brains are not suitable for her philosophy, because these brains are driven by the urge to procreate, which reaches homeostasis by the sacrifice of raising children. Raising children is a sacrifice. Not only the childfree, but most parents agree with this, but they consider themselves as doing a duty and earning society's gratitude.
There is more information about her omitting evolution: http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Parille/Ayn_Rand_and_Evolution....
Her projecting of her own inclination to all people has lead her to propagate capitalism.
But capitalism is a direct consequence of the urge to procreate and to favor the bearer of the own genes over other genetically unrelated people. Capitalism is the greedy expression of acquiring control over as many resources as possible by ruthlessly competing and exploiting others for the sole purpose of supplying the own genetic offspring for as many generations as possible with the advantage of accumulated wealth. Without procreation, capitalism would be obsolete. Someone, for whom his own life and his genes die at the same moment, can die poor and he has no need to be greedy.
Therefore I identify as an atheistic Epicurean, but I cannot identify myself as an objectivist.
This text is a copy from my ERCP-blog: