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To Imagine a Heaven—and How “Sense of Life” Can Help You to Claim It

Tara Smith

Presented at: OCON 2011

Date: Jul 02, 2011

This course examines Ayn Rand’s rich, relatively under-explored concept of sense of life.

Unit 1 explores the phenomenon’s basic meaning—its constituent elements, how it is formed, and how it is experienced (tracing its relationship with self-esteem, psycho-epistemology, and metaphysical value judgments).

Unit 2 validates the concept by drawing from everyday experience; from evidence of man’s being a natural “integrator”; and from art, using Ayn Rand’s fiction (particularly Atlas Shrugged and We the Living) to highlight sense of life on dramatic display.

Unit 3 demonstrates the value of sense of life by explaining both the intellectual and the emotional benefits of understanding it more fully and of experiencing it more directly. The concept illuminates the fundamental choice to live; the importance of pleasure; the objective character of values; the “ego” in egoism; the nature of joy. Correspondingly, a better grasp of sense of life can help us to combat over-intellectualism and rationalism in the application of Objectivist ideas and to realize the heaven that Kira imagines.


Parts: 3