Cookie and Fran are off to a new year's adventure; we're soon on our way to Ojai to visit friends and tonight we are going to volunteer time in a homeless shelter. I don’t know if I’ll have access to computers the next few days, so assume I will not.
This morning I googled the meaning of new years and came up with an article at the Ayn Rand Institute in Marina del Rey written by Scott McConnell which really clicked for me. I also connected immediately with the fact that Michael Josephson’s Institute of Ethics (a former prof at Loyola Law School where I used to work and whose work I greatly admire) and the Ayn Rand Institute are both in Marina del Rey. This bodes well for Southern California to have two such cutting edge organizations working nearby.
The last two paragraphs of Scott’s article really resonated with me.
“What then is the philosophic meaning of New Year’s resolutions? Every resolution you make on this day implies that you are in control of your self, that you are not a victim fated by circumstance, controlled by stars, owned by luck, but that you are an individual who can make choices to change your life. You can learn statistics, ask for that promotion, fight your shyness, search for that marriage partner. Your life is in your own hands. But what is the purpose of making such goals and resolutions? Why bother? Making New Year’s resolutions (and doing so even after failing last year’s) stresses that people want to be happy. On New Year’s Day many people accept, often more implicitly than explicitly, that happiness comes from the achievement of values. That is why you resolve to be healthier, more ambitious, more confident. You want to enjoy that sense of purpose, accomplishment and pleasure that one feels when achieving values. It is happiness that is the motor and purpose of one’s life. It is New Year’s, more than any other day, that makes the attainment of happiness more real and possible. This is the meaning of New Year’s Day and why it is so psychologically important and significant to people throughout the world. If people were to apply the value-achievement meaning of New Year’s Day explicitly and consistently 365 days each year, they would be happier.
So every day, fill your champagne glass of life to the brim with values — and drink deep to your life and the joy that it can and should be.”
I wish you—and I wish me—a happy new year and a happy life.