I’m a great fan of the Atlas Summit and hope you’ll attend! You might think that, because I work for the Atlas Society, I’m obliged to recommend our annual Summit. But it’s the other way around. Because I went to annual Summits, I chose to work for the Atlas Society.
I attended the founding event of the Atlas Society, then called the Institute for Objectivist Studies, in New York in 1990. There, David Kelley set forth his plan for an organization to promote the philosophy developed by Ayn Rand in an open and benevolent way.
The Summits began shortly thereafter as retreats for groups of a few dozen individuals wishing to explore in depth the principles of Objectivism. At first, David gave all the talks, but then began to invite speakers. But by the time I attended my first Summit in 1996, as a faculty member, the event was pulling in nearly 200 students and open-minded Objectivists. I attended subsequent Summits and when the opportunity arose in 2002 to join the TAS team, I jumped at the offer.
Here are five reasons why you could benefit by attending our annual event—this year in Las Vegas July 11-13.
1) The Summits promote open Objectivism.
We argue that Objectivism is a defined philosophy, but it is not a closed dogma. Rather, it is open to expansion and change based on new thinking and evidence. Further, individuals must travel their own paths to truth, using their own minds, rather than simply absorbing a doctrine handed to them to believe. While we argue that the “open” description is redundant, we use it to let everyone know that the spirit of our organization and our Summit is friendly, benevolent, and welcomes inquiry and discussion.
2) The Summits offer a variety of interesting, integrated topics.
You’ll find talks on politics, culture, aesthetics, how to live well, and deep philosophy. Call it a smorgasbord if you will. But the world is integrated, not a jumble of unrelated parts, thus our knowledge must be integrated as well. So when you attend a discussion on how we learn, you’ll see how it relates to how you can develop your skills as an entrepreneur and how you can understand the mess in politics today.
3) The Summits offer new applications of the philosophy.
A philosophy aids us in living in the real world. Thus, it must be applied to the world in which we actually live if it is to help us create a world in which we want to live. In 2016, for example, you’ll find related sessions and panels on business success, focusing especially on the virtues and psychology needed to succeed if your goal is to create wealth for yourself as well as the self-esteem that comes with achievement.
4) The Summits allow one-on-one, face-to-face exploration of ideas.
I started attended Summits before the internet, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. I’m very active in social media now. But when a topic really interests you, at the Summit you can follow up with speakers and other interested participants over lunch or drinks with the kind of interactions that are not as easy when you’re in a chat room rather than a real room.
5) The Summits allow you to forge a community of shared values.
Individualism and community are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, communities with others allow us to flourish in life. But they must be based on shared values, priorities, expectations, and aspirations. Socializing in person in the common room hangout allows you to make new friends, renew contact with old friends, and forge the kind of community that will give you spiritual as well as intellectual fuel.
So there’s my commentary that sounds like a commercial. But whether I were part of the Atlas Society or not, I would recommend to my friends who want to delve into the Objectivist philosophy that you check out our Summit, held this year in conjunction with FreedomFest. Attending this event is a Las Vegas gamble you’re sure to win!