Happy Randsday!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Harry Binswanger recently brought up a brilliant suggestion he made on his mailing list last year, which I second, and agree should go viral. He has come up with a good name for the anniversary of Ayn Rand's birth, as well as a fitting way to celebrate it.

To celebrate Randsday, you do something not done on any other holiday: you give yourself a present. Randsday is for getting that longed-for luxury you ordinarily would not buy for yourself. Or for doing that long-postponed, self-pampering activity you cannot seem to fit into your chore-packed schedule.

Randsday is for reminding ourselves that pleasure is an actual need, a psychological requirement for a human consciousness. For man, motivation, energy, enthusiasm are not givens. Pathological depression is not only possible but rampant in our duty-preaching, self-denigrating culture. The alternative is not short-range, superficial "fun," but real, self-rewarding pleasure. On Randsday, if you do something that you ordinarily would think of as "fun," you do it on a different premise and with a deeper meaning: that you need pleasure, you are entitled to it, and that the purpose and justification of your existence is: getting what you want -- what you really want, with full consciousness and dedication.
I have had Ayn Rand's birthday marked in my calendar for years and yet, despite my appreciation for the depth, breadth, and great originality of her artistic and intellectual work, it had never occurred to me to treat it like the holiday it truly is, in the etymological sense of the word (i.e., "holy day", but with an emphasis on what is actually holy). I have now corrected my calendar to read, "Randsday" when February 2 rolls around.

I celebrated my first Randsday early, yesterday afternoon. For some time, I'd known about a pub in a part of Boston that is off my beaten track just enough to cause me to not go every time I thought it would be fun to see an Arsenal match in a pub full of other fans. This was something that could well be worth doing regularly, if the atmosphere of the place was right, but I needed to find out one way or the other. The place did not quite live up to expectations, but I finally got that out of my system. I now better appreciate the place I usually go when I do go out for a game, and I had fun exploring Boston a little bit. The baby was hardly any trouble, and the afternoon trip saved my wife from being dragged to this particular pub on a weekend.

In fact, there are a few other promising-sounding pubs that I'll probably explore like this from time to time, now that I've gotten a solo trip under my belt -- of that range and time extent, with the baby -- and still had a good time. Oh, and this reminds me that I can tackle a few more mini-tours of Boston whenever the weather is nice.

Thinking long-term, I had a pretty good first Randsday. I hope you do, too.

-- CAV


Today: (1) Changed a sentence to not read like I'm running around Boston with a "baby under my belt". (2) Clarified a sentence.

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