“… the right parietal lobe — is responsible for defining ‘Me,’ said researcher Brick Johnstone of Missouri University. It generates self-criticism, he said, and guides us through physical and social terrains by constantly updating our self-knowledge: my hand, my cocktail, my witty conversation skills, my new love interest …
“[Their research] looked for correlations between brain region performance and the subjects’ self-reported spirituality.
“Among the more spiritual of the 26 subjects, the researchers pinpointed a less functional right parietal lobe, a physical state which may translate psychologically as decreased self-awareness and self-focus.
“In addition to religious practices, other behaviors and experiences are known to hush the Definer of Me. Appreciation of art or nature can quiet it, Johnstone said, pointing out that people talk of ‘losing themselves’ in a particularly beautiful song. Love, and even charity work, can also soften the boundaries of ‘Me,’ he said.”
Those who are unwise act out of attachment for the results of their action, so the wise should act without attachment for the sake of uplifting the world.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Those who entered the city and the faith before them love those who flee unto them for refuge, and find in their breasts no need for that which hath been given them, but prefer (the fugitives) above themselves though poverty become their lot. And whoso is saved from his own avarice – such are they who are successful.
Men have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness the ideal of virtue. But the creator is the egoist in the absolute sense, and the selfless man is the one who does not think, feel, judge or act. These are functions of the self.
The ethics of Rand’s objectivism, rational egoism, hold that human reasoning leads to selfishness. Why would someone put others’ interest before their own? A person’s life would end quickly if all of their actions were geared towards the preservation of another’s life. Therefore, if someone acts for the benefit of others, they are being unreasonable. She even applies the idea to love in her March 1964 interview with Playboy:
“When you are in love, it means that the person you love is of great personal, selfish importance to you and to your life. If you were selfless, it would have to mean that you derive no personal pleasure or happiness from the company and the existence of the person you love, and that you are motivated only by self-sacrificial pity for that person’s need of you. […] Love is not self-sacrifice, but the most profound assertion of your own needs and values.”
Although Rand makes excellent and inspiring points about individualism, self-sufficiency and the avoidance of animalistic hedonism throughout her writings, the extremes of altruism and egoism can be balanced.
The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.
Independent thinking alone is not suited to interdependent reality. Independent people who do not have the maturity to think and act interdependently may be good individual producers, but they won’t be good leaders or team players. They’re not coming from the paradigm of interdependence necessary to succeed in marriage, family, or organizational reality.