The most vital and powerful young minds, if not blessed by adequate guidance in philosophy, will often show evidence of their native ability by devouring and mastering any system which presents itself in an attractively wrapped package of reasoning, no matter how fatally flawed it may be.
With the shortage in our society of good philosophical mentoring at the secondary school level, many young thinkers today discover Ayn Rand for themselves in such isolated circumstances. The real test of their acumen, then, is whether they can – in honest companionship with deeper and more difficult writing in college and beyond – liberate themselves from Rand’s triumphal oratory.
I like to think that a mind of sufficient strength and reflective power will always eventually take down the mental scaffolding of early ideologies and take up instead the enduring company of genuine thinkers. This morning I found a post by a philosophy student unknown to me, whose blogging notes on Max Scheler’s philosophy I have occasionally noticed from the sidelines. The post, “leaving rand,” reveals an interesting story of this student’s breakthrough to true philosophy with the help of Scheler and Kant, and Levinas and others. I pass it on as rare evidence of the kind of reflective power and mental flexibility which I think is in precious short supply among the youth of our very unphilosophical age.