by Luke Setzer
Ayn Rand’s novels continue strong sales annually. Her “sense of life”, centered on the core Objectivist values of reason, purpose and self-esteem, draws more readers to her work every year. The urge to read and to discuss these radical concepts with others of like mind grows daily. Already, several organizations host annual summer conferences that draw hundreds of participants.
Many crave more frequent contact with others who share these values. A few local clubs based on campuses or in communities have formed over the decades to satisfy this craving. Networking among these clubs has increased thanks to the Internet.
One can easily imagine a future, someday, when Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism becomes so widely known and appreciated that people worldwide actually hold a localized monthly “International Ayn Rand Meetup Day” to gather and share lessons learned from living the Objectivist life.
That “someday” is –- today!
International Ayn Rand Meetup Day
Meetup.com provides a new way for people of common interests to gather for mutual benefit. Admirers of Ayn Rand's novels may be particularly interested in aynrand.meetup.com, which enables participants to:
From the “About Meetup” page on the Meetup web site:
We believe that it's possible to be profitable while doing great things for people.
For more info, see messages from people that have gone to a Meetup and press reports about Meetup.
Visit aynrand.meetup.com to register, or to host an Ayn Rand Meetup near you.
Meetups and Existing Clubs
Existing Objectivist Clubs, whether situated in a community or on a campus, face the challenge of advertising themselves and their ideas. Clubs do themselves and potential new members a favor through employment of the free Meetup services. Since participants in a local area can nominate their own Meetup locations and then vote for them, making Meetup serve the Club’s needs proves quite easy. Conversely, persons seeking to form an Objectivist Club, or simply seeking others of like mind, can use Meetup to get the ball rolling in that direction.
Suggested Format for Meetup
Meetup deliberately strives to make its Meetups informal in nature. In their words, a Meetup is “peers talking to peers. Most Meetups do have volunteer hosts that help make things go smoothly, but think of it as a casual get-together, not an official meeting.”
That said, Meetup participants willing to pay the three dollar monthly cost to upgrade to Meetup Plus have the right to nominate agenda items for discussion at monthly Meetups. All participants vote on these items globally, and the winning agenda items form the “official” agenda. However, an “official” International Meetup agenda does not bind local groups. So whether you decide to pay to influence the agenda remains your call.
To give readers an idea for a useful format for an International Ayn Rand Meetup, visit the Central Florida Objectivists site. For our Meetup, we discuss selections from Mortimer Adler’s Great Books of the Western World series and contrast them with works from the Objectivist corpus. Note that although the “official” time of International Ayn Rand Meetup Day is 2 PM on third Saturdays, we have moved that time to 6 PM by mutual agreement of all participants.
Contrasting Meetups with Objectivist Conferences
Academically trained New Intellectuals lead formal Objectivist summer conferences. By contrast, anyone interested can host an International Ayn Rand Meetup Day conference. This means the quality of knowledge of Ayn Rand’s ideas can vary widely depending upon the makeup of the Meetup participants. Many discussions at Meetups conjure recollections of late-night hospitality suite discussions at formal Objectivist summer conferences.
Taking Action Now
Ayn Rand sought to portray the ideal man as an end in himself rather than a means to any other end. Her heroes embodied efficacious living. They carefully laid plans and then executed them without delay, apology or compromise.
What about you? Have you laid carefully considered plans for living your life well? Do you strive to re-shape the world in the image of your values, as the Objectivist virtue of productiveness requires? Have you sought every possible avenue for advancing reason into the culture? Have you actively sought face-to-face, rational friendships to gain the “psychological visibility” that Objectivist psychology suggests we all profoundly need?
The time for action is now. Visit aynrand.meetup.com to sign up for a Meetup near you. If no one currently serves as a host, step up to the plate! Engage your mind and body to lead yourself and those you value to refreshingly rational experiences of life.