Nelson Mandela Meets Ayn Rand (A Year End Message)

Geoff Smith Portrait

BY Geoff Smith


My sister Cathy sent me a passage recently that she thought had been used by Nelson Mandela in his inauguration speech. With a little research, she realized that wasn't the case, although many people apparently still believe it to be so, and I'm guessing that's because it is so easy to imagine Mandela saying exactly these words to everyone he met.

Ayn Rand, as many of you will recall, was a philosopher of a different sort. She preached the gospel of self reliance and believed that when you help people, you weaken them - she was tough, and 'altruism' was not her favourite word. But Ms. Rand also celebrated the power and potential of the human spirit. She was very optimistic about what could be accomplished by confident, determined individuals.

So my humble suggestion to you is that if there is a place where these two vastly different individuals meet philosophically, perhaps we might all want to spend some time there. These words were written by Marianne Williamson:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so
that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other
people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."

Have a great holiday and a fabulous 2014.