A Journal for Western Man




But It's Fun!

Don Watkins III

Issue V- September 18, 2002


This last New Years Eve, I found myself sitting in the basement of a stranger’s home, surrounded by about thirty or so twenty-something’s. I had, for the most part, avoided parties during my high school tenure, and so observed with interest my unfamiliar surroundings.

Most everyone was wandering around aimlessly, drunk and/or high. Some were trying to engage in trivial conversations – a daunting task, considering the ungodly volume of the music. A few others lay passed out in the corner.

This, I was told, qualified as a “good” party.

For my part, I was bored to tears (which was unfortunate because I had used the last of the tissues to wipe someone’s vomit off my shoes) and wondered what I was doing there to begin with.

Sound familiar? When you ask your peers why they drink, or “party”, or sleep with anything that moves (or doesn’t), or why they engage is myriad other such activities, their answer is always the same: they do it because it’s “fun”.

But, for most young Objectivists, it remains a mystery why most of what other young people consider fun really isn’t fun at all.

The answer lies in the common denominator of all such “fun” activities – they involve no effort, no thought, and no purpose. They are forms of escape. From reality, and, more so, from one’s own mind.

If your life is devoid of purpose and meaning, and when thought is considered to be, at best, necessary evil, you necessarily condemn yourself to a life of confusion, frustration, and fear. Confusion, because reason is your only means of knowledge; frustration, because life demands a specific course of action; and fear, because reason is your only guide to living.

The only true escape from such an existence is to reestablish reason as your life’s guide. But most adolescents don’t want to make such an effort – it’s that something-for-nothing urge that most of us have but eventually outgrow. They are left with only one out – to escape such an existence by destroying and subverting their minds.

By drinking, or sleeping around, or gathering in a group with those who feel as they do, such folks do achieve a form of safety. The safety of not having to face reality. Their escape provides them with a momentary comfort (and here I do stress, momentary).

But, as the saying goes, existence exists, and you can’t escape reality. Not ultimately.

For an Objectivist, such an existence seems unthinkable. He would never allow such a lapse to occur. But, it is easy to slip into – especially during your college years.

I speak from experience. For some time, I would go to parties, in the worry that I would be missing out on something if I didn’t (this was even after my New Year’s experience…I admit, I’m sometimes slow to learn from my own experience).

I would arrive, I would become bored, and I would sometimes choose to drink as a means of alleviating that boredom. How’s that for an exponent of reason? I would subsequently be filled with guilt for having taken an action I believed to be immoral – prompting me to escape my feelings of guilt by – you guessed it – drinking more!

But, alas, I finally stopped, got some perspective, and concluded that my life, my goals, my self-esteem, were all too important to give up because I might be “missing out” if I refrained from partying with everyone else.

The truth is, fun is not an escape from life – it consists of living life to its fullest. Work is fun, effort is fun, and – when earned – so is relaxation. Maybe even a party can be fun, if it were a proper kind of party (although I can’t imagine what it would consist of).

But, the kind of activities most students claim as their fun is not fun – it is dangerous. More so, it is an admission of their attitude towards life and towards themselves.

You, as an exponent of reason, of selfishness, of living – you must choose where you will find your fun, and you must choose in the only manner fit for a human being. By your mind.

Don Watkins III is a businessman, poet, college student, and profound Objectivist. He is the author of a site titled The Essence of Objectivism, which you can access at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/9035/essence.html.

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Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, at http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/rc.html.