Isn't the person saying you aren't competent to make your own decisions?
I'd be interested to hear what the person has to say. I'd say, "what do you want to tell me?". You might think it's a load of crap, or you might feel you'd learned something.
I think that in his or her naïve way, if you tone it all down to about 30%, he or she makes some reasonable points.
Like what Unseen said, but maybe I'm just overly suspicious. Have you ever seen Matchstick Men? Here's a scene I remember well, with Frank saying how "sorry" he is before he gets into the car. In my darkest thoughts, you are Roy. (But if you haven't seen the movie, you won't get it.)
On the other hand, the movie has a happy ending, because you are invincible!
I think these words are an object lesson in making the most of what you've got. If that person stated that you need a mentor in decision making, maybe it's a good opportunity to learn something, that we could all benefit from.
I also don't think you are guilty of violating the original charge: I don't think you somehow blame others for your mistakes or shortcomings*. I have a theory that there's about 2% of the population who have had it waaaaay worse than anyone else, and maybe you're part of that 2%. The other 98% have no conception of what it's like for the 2%, except to accuse them of bitching and whining over nothing.
What these 2% are usually is DRIVEN. So maybe one day you'll have an opportunity to show this person what being driven means.
* I can't think of any right now.
If that was his message (making the most of what you got), than his message would have been worded that way. His message wasn't about being a better decision maker (though it follows you should) but part of the Randian ideology that the only moral way to judge a person is through their individual actions...nothing else. He easily could have said something like:
Yes. With a text like that...it would be hard to critique it. But his is a vicious savage view that points fingers at losers, gives praise to winners (though he doesn't outright say it...it follows) and approves of people forced to make choices they cannot possibly make and be responsible for them (i.e. not believing in God and being sent to hell...as an extreme example). This mentality also leads to a lack of compassion and empathy for those who are suffering through bad choices...and is a major voice in the fight against government social support and programs in the united states and to a lesser extent in Canada, UK, Australia, NZ
It is no coincidence that this intense individualism in American culture and the American dream has lead to the US offering pitiful assistance in some states to the poor and the screwed up and the losers. Despite having the greatest wealth in the Western world they offer the lowest percentage of aid and social programs and allow people hitting rock bottom (and the misery and violence that comes with neighbourhoods full of people who hit rock bottom). It depends on a state by state basis...but in some cases you make a couple bad choices and you are out on the streets with no safety net...and you are viewed by some as deserving living in the gutter. This is what can manifest from holding extreme views like this guy.
Every time we can point to something outside of our control as a reason for falling short, we diminish ourselves toward being incapable and incompetent.
I remember once a study of male and female students.
The male students more frequently attributed their successes to their own ability, and their failures to bad luck.
The female students were more apt to attribute their failures to themselves, and their successes to being lucky.
The result was that the male students behaved more confidently and were more willing to take risks to advance themselves.
That study would suggest that your fundamental premise here is incorrect.
I understand the intention of the author, but I disagree with the content.
Collaborating with others (and relying on them) isn't tantamount to slavery. It's how we build community, and how collectively we do more than any of us can do on our own as self-reliant individuals.
Using programs or relying on information generated by others is what we do in education. That's not slavery either. That's building on available information so as to better ourselves.
Self-reliance is not an absolute virtue. Rather, it's something between a form of arrogance and a lack of generosity. We are stronger if @Dr. Bob does physics and @Belle Rose does marketing because relying on others and on the community allows us to specialize in the areas we care most about, and where our talents are best used. If I had to be "self-reliant" for food instead of relying on farmers and teamsters and grocers, I would have much less time to do physics. That would be bad for humanity.
The small kernel of truth here is that we are individually responsible for our own choices. With that kernel of truth, I agree.
Being externally FORCED to work/rely on others might involve slavery, but choosing to is not slavery.
Working with others, say, in a group that works as a team and rely on each other, can be very rewarding/gratifying.
We ARE responsible for our choices, even if we have none and don't really have any options ot choose from...but, IF WE DO get to choose an option, which option is up to us.
My objection to the original passage though is still that its written more for those with real choices, and not those born into poverty, etc...where escape is not choice dependent as much as opportunity dependent.
I think the person who made the original comments is actually a bit naïve to think that we can have control over everything that happens to us, and as TJ says, privileged. At the same time, as Dr Bob says, there's a kernal of truth in it as we do have choices along the way.
I can agree with some of this to a certain extent. Life lessons and examples:
My friend, Jose, NewYoRican from Manhattan, grew up in a home with heroin addicted parents. He told me he learned how to smoke pot with his mother.
One day we decided to go to Greenwich Village and try a new pizzeria. In his car, sitting at a light, he points to a park bench in Tomkins Square Park. He said, "That's where I lived for a year and a half. Second bench from the left was where I kept my cardboard box". When he said this he had a career as a fellow Operating Engineer, owned a home in Long Island, was married, and was celebrating almost ten years of sobriety. He didn't get there on his own. There were people along the way that chose to give him a chance. Same people that gave me employment, career, and opportunity. We did not do it alone. He acknowledges that. So do I.
I've been on my own since the age of 17. In that time I dropped out of high school, got a GED, served in the military, worked odd jobs, gotten' arrested, married, son, divorce, rehab, sober, married again, daughter, career, home, kids, dog, second home, retiring in four years. I couldn't do any of it by myself. There was always someone along the way that helped.
It's from a simple if not simplistic idealism: mind over matter; you can do anything. It can be useful as inspiration, but some words like "slavery" give it a paranoic slant, making me suspicious of the speaker's motives. Sure, mind over matter is a positive attitude, but let's not make it an idealism that makes one too open to suggestions from a purported "expert" on mind over matter, especially an expert with personal motives and hubris.
That's just imo, when it can be taken too far, even into blindered, cultish behavior and divination of the leader.