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One of the headers I've seen recently was "What would Joe say" and it's something that's been coming to mind quite a lot recently for me. With Cecil dying and me retreating into myself to recover I've had some time to read, and decided to tackle an author I've always wanted to read but been intimidated by - Ayn Rand (quickly becoming a favorite author, but I'm a raving libertarian and not an objectivist). Let me say right now, I've got a boatload of differences with the woman, but there's one major theme running through both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged that has reminded me quite a bit of something Joe and I discussed once, back in the Metista days.

I was having difficulty at the time determining whether I was Metista or not. I agreed with the Declaration of Metista, but one of my ruling tenets has always been "to thine own self be true." I told Joe and Starr that I agreed with the Declaration, but there was something else, and they said that was exactly it, and from that day forward I knew I was Metista. What was said? "All I can do is be myself, as hard and as strong as I can be."

As it happens, that's a huge part of the theme of Rand's books... and a huge part of Toteg. One of the hardest rules to follow is "to thine own self be true" because it implies a level of self-knowledge that takes years to acquire, and every time you think you've got it, something else has changed - because with every bit of knowledge of yourself you acquire, you change. You can never truly know yourself, it's a never-ending quest. Being true to your own soul, taken together with the Toteg affirmations, implies a level of respect for all things... most especially, yourself. It requires an integrity of spirit that does not allow unjust demands on other people, it requires an ethic of earning what you have and what you know, expecting the same of others, not allowing others' unjust demands to bring you down to their level while at the same time striving ever for the next step, the next advancement, the next accomplishment, the next deal, the next level. "They say its hard for men to agree. You'd be surprised how easy it is - when both parties hold as their moral absolute that neither exists for the sake of the other and that reason is their only means of trade (Atlas Shrugged)." My major difference with Ms. Rand is that I include all that exists in this, whereas she sticks just to humanity. But that's what makes her an objectivist and me Toteg.

Be yourself, as hard and strong as you can be. And know what that means.

To thine own self be true.

JLSD 12/1/05


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