I've been writing in one form or another for very close to 60 years. I am probably not quite as old as that makes me seem, since I started writing while very young. The first things I wrote were about philosophy. It was very mistaken philosophy, but a twelve-year old has not yet learned about rationalism and is easily tempted to make everything up in his head--a temptation most philosophers never learn to resist.
Most of that was a digression which I indulged just because I could. My real purpose in writing this is not to explain myself--I never explain myself--but to explain why the Independent Individualist is changing. It is not changing it's philosophy, but is definitely changing it's form.
I began writing the Independent Individualist, which originally included the Autonomist, in the same vein I originally began writing. It was and has been mostly philosophical in nature. As much as I love philosophy, it has never been my first love in writing. My first love is and always has been creative writing--technically the genre called, 'fiction.'
The word 'fiction' is a perfectly good word, but I have never liked to use it with reference to my writing, because it means, to most people, something that is, 'just made up,' like most philosophy. I readily admit the characters, events, locations, dialog, descriptions and plots are all my original creations, but I do not regard those creations as simply, 'made up.' They are the distillation and recreation of reality mined from my own existence, knowledge, and experience. The stories are fiction, but as representations of real principles, they are all true.
I do not care to rehash what anyone who knows something about philosophy already knows, so I'll only briefly mention the five traditional branches of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and politics. I need to mention them for two reasons.
The first reason is because one of these branches does not belong to philosophy at all. It is thrust in and accepted by every philosopher there has ever been, but there has never been evidence or argument that such a branch should exist. That branch is politics and it has no more business in philosophy than religion or alchemy.
[Oddly enough there is another discipline that has been mistakenly removed from philosophy, and falsely called a science, which it is not. That field is psychology, the study of the mind.]
The second reason is because I am sometimes identified as an Objectivist--one who holds and defends the philosophy written by Ayn Rand. I readily admit I am an admirer of Rand, her works, and even her philosophy, which I regard as perhaps the best in history, as far as it goes, but I definitely am not an adherent of that philosophy.
The beginning, and perhaps the end, of my admiration for Ayn Rand is the one concept she held above all others as the basis of and reason for everything else she did and wrote--the concept of
independent individualism. It is the
concept of individualism I myself regard as the basis of all human values and meaning.
Of the five branches of philosophy, Rand wrote about four--three genuine: epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics, and one false: politics. Her writing about aesthetics never addresses the central question of aesthetics, "what is beauty?" She in fact only addresses one sub-category of aesthetics, the nature of art. The bulk of her good philosophy consists of her epistemology and her ethics. Both are very good, though her epistemology contains
a severe mistake I've addressed elsewhere.
Rand's ethics is undoubtedly her most important contribution to the field of philosophy, yet it is her ethics that most admirers of Rand and self-identified Objectivists understand least. Most so-called Objectivists confuse her defense of, 'egoism,' as a defense of subjectivism and turn her objective moral principles into subjective hedonism.
For the time being, I don't intend to write about philosophy any longer. It is a waste of time. Philosophy is a difficult subject, but almost anyone who is willing to make the effort can understand the basic principles of philosophy. It is no more difficult than general mathematics, which almost anyone can master if they make the effort.
Almost no one is interested in making that effort, because it is not philosophical truth most people want. They will embrace almost anything that will justify, at least in their own minds, their evasion of the truth and their belief that they have some kind of right to the unearned and undeserved.
I've written philosophy, perhaps all the philosophy I'll ever write. Now I'm going to write stories that concretize that philosophy, true stories driven by the ruthless facts of reality, and the kind of people who embrace that reality.
Ayn Rand was contemptuous of artists who presented their sketches and practice work as art. She was probably right about that, but people find such works interesting even if they are not regarded as art. Writers also do sketches and practice work to develop their skills and concepts.
The, "Roger Stories," represent some of my own 'sketches.' I've written them mostly for my own pleasure and practice, and at least one other person (Mrs. Firehammer) has also enjoyed them. Today I intend to make them available to the readers of the Independent Individualist.
I hope you find the stories enjoyable and thought provoking. I assure you they are not quite like any other stories you've read, and some are not really stories at all.
This is a link to the Roger Stories index. I suggest you read them in order. If you spread them out, I think you'll find them more enjoyable than attempting to read them all at once.
[Note: There will be more Roger Stories added from time to time. There is even a plot of sorts, which will make itself apparent in time.]
A Personal Note
I appreciate the recent flurry of emails from long-time friends as well as those who have lately discovered, or rediscovered, the Independent Individualist. I know the interest is in the philosophy and commentary and hope you will not be too disappointed in the change of emphasis.
I am always willing to listen to philosophical questions or questions about individualism or establishing one's own freedom, and I will always attempt to answer such questions if I can. If you'd like to comment on the Roger stories, address those comments to Mark Halpern at:
halpern (at) usabig (dot) com
—Reginald Firehammer (06/04/12)
All comments and criticisms will be read, and, if decent, published. Please include the title of the article. Questions are also welcome.