Is looking after the benefits of your family considered a …

  • If your family is of value *to youfor the sake of living *your own lifethen yes, taking care of your family is an egoistical endeavor, and it is moral by man’s life as the standard. In other words, for rational egoism, what sustains your own life is beneficial to you (or the good) and what is detrimental to your own life is bad (or evil if done to you by others). Rational egoism, such as that by Ayn Rand identifies the fact that a living being acts to continue to live its own life, and not give up its life for another aside from actual values it has that it seeks to protect (like a cat or a bird defending its litter or young birds, even to the end of their own lives in some cases). Animals are not rational — they do not have free will and do not have to decided what to do, but, for the most part, they do act to preserve their own life. And Ayn Rand noticed this, and noticed that a given man is alive (and most definitely herself), and given his own nature and that of all other living beings came up with what she called The Objectivist Ethics in The Virtue of Selfishness integrated all of these observations together to form her meta-ethics — what facts of reality give rise to rational egoism, and how do you demonstrate that? And Ayn Rand did that well, in the context of her knowledge, which one has to take into account to understand her ethical science approach (it is a science because it is based on the facts understood by the process of reason with a standard of measurement — what is good for man is the moral thing to pursue).

    Here is what Ayn Rand stated about morality according to her scientific findings:

    “Ethics is an objective, metaphysical necessity of man’s survival. . . .

    I quote from Galt’s speech[Atlas Shrugged]: “Man has been called a rational being, but rationality is a matter of choice—and the alternative his nature offers him is: rational being or suicidal animal. Man has to be man—by choice; he has to hold his life as a value—by choice; he has to learn to sustain it—by choice; he has to discover the values it requires and practice his virtues—by choice. A code of values accepted by choice is a code of morality.”

    The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics—the standard by which one judges what is good or evil—is man’s life, or: that which is required for man’s survival qua man.

    Since reason is man’s basic means of survival, that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; that which negates, opposes or destroys it is the evil. Since everything man needs has to be discovered by his own mind and produced by his own effort, the two essentials of the method of survival proper to a rational being are: thinking and productive work.”

    -Ayn Rand Lexicon

    And I wrote an essay on happiness by a proper standard, since Ayn Rand held that the purpose of morality was to do things and pursue values that aid in your pursuit of personal happiness:

    “Many people seem to vacillate between “doing what is right” and “pursuing their happiness”, which, largely due to their religious upbringing, puts them in a bind either way. To do what is right generally means to do one’s duty or to follow principles not connected to living a joyful life on earth. A joyful life is considered “selfish” and is to be avoided by most moralities, so in order to pursue their happiness, many people eschew morality and just do what they feel like doing, acting on feeling in an effort to satisfy themselves. The trouble is, either stance is not in favor of one’s joyful life – religious morality because it says to avoid happiness on earth, and following one’s feelings because it doesn’t generally end up being good for oneself. Suffering, by most moralities is considered a virtue, and no reasonable man would want to suffer his whole life through; so they cheat every once in a while and do what they feel like doing.

    But feelings (or one’s emotions) are not tools of cognition (thinking) and are not pre-programmed to do those things which are in-fact good for oneself. Take a drug addiction (say cocaine): It may very well make you feel good while the hit lasts, but at the cost of disconnecting one’s mind from reality. Trouble is, reality is still there, and believing one can jump off a tall roof while high is not going to be good for one’s own life. So, if a morality of duty will make one miserable, and following feelings can be dangerous to one’s health, what’s the alternative to really pursuing a happiness that is both good for you and moral?”

    Happiness by a Proper Standard

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