Henrik Unné

The Humean universe of one psychotic

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I am working on a book which presents a speculation, founded on my own personal experiences of being psychotic, that the basic cause of psychosis *may* be a certain kind of metaphyics. I suspect, and this is of course just a suspicion, that psychotics behave in the radically "different" way, from normal people, that they do, because they have radically different metaphysical premises than sane men do (specifically, I suspect that psychotics are on the Primacy of Consciousness premise, and the premise of Indeterminism). The essay which I present below may have value for the raw data which it presents. This raw data is taken from my own personal experience of being a psychotic (I am recovered now, of course). The theory is, however, just speculation. But this speculation *might* have value as a lead.

The essay below is not an extract from my book. I wrote this essay specifically to function as a plug for my book, here in the Forum4AynRandFans.

THE HUMEAN UNIVERSE OF ONE PSYCHOTIC

I remember quite clearly many of the features of the state of my consciousness during the year 1972, when I was 17 to 19 years old, and was in the depths of a psychosis, which was diagnosed specifically, as a case of schizophrenia by more than one psychiatrist. I also have an objective account of how I behaved, outwardly, which I have got from my sister, Sophy. I will here present an hypothesis, or speculation if you prefer, as to what the basic cause of the phenomenon of psychosis is. This speculation is based on those two pieces of evidence.

First a brief recapitulation of my medical history: In December of 1969, I was living in the USA, and I found myself in such a deep depression, that I made an unsuccessful suicide attempt. I was hospitalized, and diagnosed as a schizophrenic. In, I believe, February of 1970, I was still unhappy, and I made a second suicide attempt, and was hospitalized again. This time I was given electric current therapy. When I was released from the hospital, I was still unhappy, and I seriously contemplated making still another suicide attempt. But my fear of death (which of course is not the same thing as a genuine will to live) and the passivity which the electric current therapy had induced in me, prevented me from carrying out that idea. In April of 1970, on my 16th birthday, I quit school, because I was completely unmotivated to work in order to learn. In May of 1970, I moved back to Sweden, and began working as an apprentice in a chemical laboratory at a Swedish iron ore mine. I lived as a boarder with the head of the chemical laboratory and his wife. There, for the next 1 ½ years, I occupied myself happily with learning and perfecting my ability to do quantitative analyses of iron ore samples, with wet chemical methods. But I could not work as an apprentice more than 1 ½ years, and I had no formal training in chemistry, so I was not permitted to become a regular employee at the laboratory. So in December 1971, I had to return to my parents on the suburb island of Stockholm called Lidingoe. There I soon became acutely psychotic, I was probably schizophrenic. I was, however not hospitalized again until the summer of 1972, after months of suffering.

I will start by describing my outward behavior. My sister, Sophy, has told me that during the year 1972, when she, I and her friends rode the tram on Lidingoe together, her friends would sometimes ask her afterwards – “What kind of drugs is your brother on?” What happened was that I was absorbed in the world of my inner thoughts when I rode the tram with Sophy and her friends. I was so oriented towards my own inner world, that I came across as having a very “wooden” way of moving and behaving, and I had a very “wooden” expression on my face. My sister´s friends, assumed that the explanation for this peculiar behavior was that I was doing drugs, because this was in the 1970s, when lots of teenagers in Sweden were in the habit of using narcotic drugs.

So, I *was* very focused on my inner world, instead of being focused on the external reality around me. Why was I so focused on my inner world, and cut off from reality? Why was I psychotic?

I have an hypothesis that the factor which directly triggered my psychosis, was my loss, in early 1972, of my implicit confidence in a basic *philosophical* principle - the Law of Identity. I have one, to me very plausible, piece of evidence for the idea that I had in fact, in early 1972 (it must have occurred either in January or February, but I cannot pinpoint the exact time at which it happened) lost my confidence in that philosophical axiom. In January or February of 1972, I was living with my parents in their home on the Swedish suburb island in Stockholm called Lidingoe. I was working in a daytime job in a laboratory in the city. Early every morning I would take the tram and the subway to work in the company of my father. At almost the same instant that I left the house I would begin to worry and feel anxiety. I had a thought that kept recurring to me every single day. What if the house was not still standing there, when I came back from work at the end of the day? What if the house just disappeared into thin air while I was away from it, at work? After all, I thought to myself – “How could I *know* that the house would still be there at the end of the day, just because it was there when I left in the morning?” Of course, this idea of mine, that the house I lived in might just disappear into thin air, when I was not there, filled me with a chronic anxiety, and even terror. Because of the fact that I could just picture myself starving or freezing to death out there on the sidewalk next to where the house formerly had been. I felt sick with worry almost all the time during the day, during which I was working in the laboratory in the city. Now, how could I come to take seriously such a patently absurd idea as the one that entire houses can just vanish into thin air, for no particular reason?

Well, the answer to that question is contained in the answer which I used to give to a question which my parents kept asking me during 1972. My parents frequently asked me, since they were worried for me – “Henrik, why do you feel so much distress?” They could tell that I felt a lot of emotional distress at the time. I would always give the same answer to that question. I would say – “Because I cannot understand how everything in the world hangs together.” The reason that I could not understand - “how the world hanged together” (those were the very words I used to describe how I felt) was that my mind had lost the glue that kept everything interconnected in a healthy person´s mind – my implicit confidence in the Law of Identity.

This philosophical axiom states that everything is what it is, and is *only* what it is. The truth of this axiom is what makes reality orderly and causal. So that men, the healthy ones, can understand how the various parts of reality interact with each other, in a causal, orderly fashion. The Law of Identity is what makes reality intelligible. My speculation is that when a person, for example a psychotic, loses his implicit confidence in the Law of Identity, he *may* find that he feels that he is living in an “Humean” type of universe. The philosopher David Hume rejected the Law of Identity, because he rejected the idea that reality is filled with stable entities. And because he did not believe in the truth of the Law of Identity, Hume thought that literally anything could happen in reality. Well, I felt that I was living in the kind of chaotic flux of which David Hume conceived the universe as being constituted, during the years in which I was psychotic.

Ayn Rand thought that members of savage tribes felt that they lived in such a “Humean” universe, and that they as a result of that existed in a perpetual state of terror. The emotion of terror was allegedly omnipresent in anyone who lived without any confidence in the Law of Identity. Ayn Rand illustrated this point with the example of the savage, who is afraid all the time that the spirits who allegedly rule reality, might at any moment change his wife into a giant spider. My take is that savages live in a state of omnipresent inner terror, because they have never reached the point of having an implicit confidence in the Law of Identity, as civilized men have. And psychotics, like my former self, I suspect *may* live in a state of omnipresent inner terror, because they have *lost* the implicit confidence in the Law of Identity which they *used* to have. I think that it is obvious that my idea, that the entire house which I lived in might at any moment when I was not watching it, just disappear into thin air for no reason, was just as much a manifestation of an absence of confidence in the Law of Identity, as the savage´s idea that his wife might at any instant just turn into a giant spider. And it would seem a strange coincidence if my thought that the house might just disappear, began occurring to me repeatedly at just the same time that I went psychotic, without there being any causal connection.

What brought about my loss of confidence in the Law of Identity? After all, l had lived all my life in a civilized society, so I had taken the Law of Identity for granted for many, many years. I had never doubted this key axiom at all, before I went psychotic. I can think of two, slightly different, possible causes. This is just speculation, however. I do not have a really certain explanation, which I lean towards more than any other.

One possible explanation of my loss of confidence in the Law of Identity could be that it was somehow a consequence of what psychologists and psychiatrists call a “traumatic experience”. I had been subjected to a traumatic experience about two years before I went psychotic, in the very beginning of 1972. Namely, I had been through a deep depression and two unsuccessful suicide attempts about the time of the first few months of 1970. Well, my suicide attempts, and the stressful incarceration in a mental ward after each attempt (I felt that being physically confined in a hospital ward, against my will, and having a psychiatrist lecture me repeatedly on what my own good consisted of, was a hellish experience) were certainly two traumatic experiences. But there are weaknesses with this explanation. The traumatic experiences occurred almost two whole years *before* my acute psychosis, in the beginning of 1972. Why would my loss of confidence in the Law of Identity occur with such a time lag?

On the other hand, I was diagnosed as schizophrenic already after, probably, my first suicide attempt. It is possible that that diagnosis was correct, (although I doubt it, because my inner mental state at the time, as I remember it was entirely different and better - it was less inward-looking and less un-concentrated - than my inner mental state was in the years 1972 and 1973, when I definitely was schizophrenic, or at least psychotic). So maybe, I had been schizophrenic in the first months of 1970, had recovered partially, and then had a relapse in early 1972, brought about by the new stress of being placed in a “value vacuum”, when I moved back to my parents (see below for what I mean by this “value vacuum”). But I do not see any clear reason why “psychological stress” per se, would bring on the very *specific* phenomena of my losing my implicit confidence in the Law of Identity. What is the specific causal connection between acute psychological stress and the Law of Identity? Of course, it stands to reason that severe psychological stress would have *some* serious negative effects, but why a loss of my implicit confidence in the Law of Identity *specifically*?

I have an hypothesis, or speculation if you prefer, which makes some sense to me. This speculation at least contains a plausible explanation for why the stress which I was subjected to would result in a loss of confidence in the Law of Identity *specifically*. The following is my speculation:

When I moved back to my parents on Lidingoe, I immediately found myself in what I call a “value vacuum”. What I mean by that term is – a *total* privation of values. I did not have one, single significant personal value after I began living with my parents in January 1972. I no longer had any work which I enjoyed, for example. I had enjoyed the work which I had done at the chemical laboratory previously. I had looked forward to the workday before me every morning, when I got up. But the work which I was *assigned* to do, when I lived at Lidingoe (I had not *chosen* to do that job, it was chosen *for* me by my father, who was on the premise of parental paternalism, and he had no conception of the importance of personal choice), was excruciatingly boring for me. I hated getting up in the morning, when I was going to that job. I wished that I could just remain in bed and continue to sleep.

And I had no recreational values *at all*. I had not a single friend, or even a single acquaintance. My sister, Sophy, who was a social type of person, tried to introduce me to her friends at the local school she went to, but I had nothing at all in common with them, they were just “hippy” types, of the kind which were all over the place in Sweden, in the golden years of the New Left of the 1970s decade. I had no hobbies. I read no books. I rarely looked at the newspapers. There was nothing which I wished to read. There were no movies worth seeing. I did not listen to much music. Although I owned a handful of LPs and my sister owned more. I watched television every now and then, since I had nothing better to do, but what I saw did not interest me. My life was a progression of one gray day after another. The feeling that dominated my soul was monotony. My father would keep complaining to me – “Henrik, why are you so *passive*?” He was angry with me, because he was frustrated by my total lack of initiative. He was hoping desperately that I would pick myself up, and do something with my life. But he did not know how he could make me do it. And I had no inner drive, so I did not do it on my own. I had no personal *values* at all. That is why I say that I existed in a “value vacuum” at the time.

This total privation of values had, I hypothesize, a very logical effect on my consciousness. Since I was not pursuing any values which were significant to me, there was nothing in my life to keep my consciousness tied to external reality. After all, man is a volitional being, so he has to continually *choose* to focus his mind on things in external reality. And it is values, the things in external reality which mean something personally for a man, which are the things which motivate him to focus on things in external reality. He focuses on certain aspects of external reality *in order* to gain and keep personal values. But I no longer had any, to me, significant values. I just slept, ate, worked and went to the bathroom over and over again, day after day. That is a pretty fair description of the kind of life I was leading. So my mind did not continue to focus much on any aspects of external reality. There was nothing causing it to do so. I began to live in the world of my own thoughts. I began to construct elaborate fantasy worlds, which preoccupied me all day. I still functioned perfunctorily in external reality. I worked a little bit, but not with any effectiveness, I was just a mindless drone. I continued to eat, sleep, work like a drone and go to the bathroom. But that was it. Beyond the minimal amount of focusing on external reality which I carried out in order to function at all, I only focused on my inner world. My life became very “subjective” which is, I believe, a key feature of psychoses.

And I believe that this inward focus of mine can logically explain why I lost my implicit confidence in the Law of Identity. What, in my inner world of thoughts, could sustain my confidence in the Law of Identity? When a man is focusing on *external* reality, he sees stable entities all the time. They can “remind” him in a direct way that things are what they are, and that one thing never changes into another, or just disappears into thin air, or comes into existence out of nothing, without a specific reason. So, sure, a wine maker can take grapes, and change them gradually into wine, by specific steps, and by no others. But there is *no* way a man can change water into wine in an instant, by merely wishing it to, as the Bible alleges that Jesus did.

But I was not focusing on external reality any longer. I was focusing on my consciousness. And what, in my consciousness, could sustain my confidence in the Law of Identity? In the world of his consciousness, a man, any man, can easily picture to himself water being changed into wine in an instant, merely because he wishes it. Anything can happen in a man´s consciousness. He can *make* anything happen. He can imagine entire houses disappearing into thin air for no reason, he can imagine wives being changed into spiders and he can even imagine a supernatural Deity creating the entire universe ex nihilo. So, as soon as I began focusing on my consciousness instead of focusing on external reality, I was playing with fire. I was *bound* to lose my implicit confidence in the Law of Identity. There was nothing in the world of my consciousness “reminding” me of it. The inner world of my consciousness was like a flux, where I was continuously cooking up new fantasies to amuse me, so to speak. And it was natural, I suppose, that I should begin to assume that external reality was the same kind of place as my consciousness. A chaotic flux, where everything changed, and nothing abided.

The reasoning presented above is, as I said, merely a hypothesis or speculation, on what the basic cause of every psychosis *may* be. I seriously think that it is *possible* that the basic nature of a psychosis per se, is that the psychotic is a man who has lost his implicit confidence in the Law of Identity, and therefore has the same kind of inner life which Ayn Rand thought that primitive savages have. This speculation of mine, would explain why psychotics feel a chronic anxiety, which I believe that they do. And it ties in with the observation that psychotics are, according to my layman´s knowledge of the subject, subjectivistic. They supposedly often confuse the world of their consciousness with external reality. Actually however, I myself did not do that, because I was well aware of the distinction between my consciousness and external reality. It was “just” that I was much more interested in the world of my consciousness *anyway*, because it was much more “fun” and interesting in my eyes than the boring external reality around me. Another fact about psychotics which my speculation *might* logically explain, is the often observed fact that psychotics are *very* concrete bound. My layman´s knowledge is (I have heard this from psychiatrists whom I have talked to) that psychotics tend to deal, cognitively, only with perceptual level concretes. I know for a fact that I was like that. All of my elaborate fantasy worlds were concerned with concretes, such as the production of steel, cement, coal, petroleum and so forth. My fantasies were very “Marxist”, although I was not a Communist. The idea below is a speculation of mine that *might* logically explain the supposed concrete-boundedness of psychotics:

The Law of Identity is, I believe, a necessary precondition for the process of abstraction. In order to abstract, a man has to isolate specific attributes of concretes, in thought, and “recombine” these attributes to form an abstract concept. He may, for example, focus on the attribute of some of men´s actions, that they involve the use of physical force, and combine that idea, the idea of “physical force”, with the idea of “initiation” and form the concept of “crime”. “Crime”, being the initiation of force by one man, against another. But what if a man has lost his implicit confidence in the Law of Identity? Then it is no longer real to him that existents even *have* stable, enduring attributes, which characterize them. So what foundation does such a man have to build abstract concepts on? He cannot abstract the attributes from various concretes, if it is not real to him that they even have such (stable, enduring) attributes. One day an entity might have one attribute, and another day it might have an entirely different attribute, so how is the man who has no confidence in the Law of Identity going to be able to use the attributes of concretes in order to form abstract concepts? He cannot get off the ground, cognitively. The reasoning above makes sense to me, at least.

To sum up:

Just about everyone who himself is sane, knows that psychotics behave very “strangely”, and in a very “different” way than sane men do. But most of them cannot *really* fathom why. Sure, they can “explain” a psychotic´s exotic behavior by saying – “He´s crazy!” But that is not much of an *explanation*. The psychotic´s behavior is a mystery to most people, because they have no inkling of the fact that the psychotic may have a radically different *metaphysics* than they do (at least I believe that psychotics have a radically different metaphysics). If this is true, it means that the psychotic, figuratively speaking, lives in an entirely different kind of universe than the sane man does. If my speculation is true, the psychotic has at least two basic metaphysical premises, which are radically different from those held by virtually all sane men. And these two radically different metaphysical premises would go a long way towards explaining the typical psychotic´s radically different behavior. These two metaphysical premises are – The Primacy of Consciousness and Indeterminism.

I think that it is apparent from my account of my own psychosis above, that my being totally absorbed in the world of my own thoughts indicated that I was on the premise of the Primacy of Consciousness. And I think that it is also apparent that my lack of implicit confidence in the Law of Identity was essentially the same thing as a positive belief in the metaphysical premise of Indeterminism. My fear that the house I lived in would suddenly just vanish into thin air, showed that I felt that I lived in a chaotic, “Humean” type of universe.

So the psychotic, in a sense, may live in or rather, may *feel* that he lives in, an entirely different kind of universe from the one which sane men live in. The psychotic may live, figuratively speaking, in the same kind of universe that savages presumably feel that they live in. And it is also, significantly I think, the same kind of universe conjured up by such influential modern philosophers as David Hume and Immanuel Kant. I will argue in an essay, which I hope to write in the next few days, that their view of metaphysics, and also some of their other philosophical ideas (e.g. altruism and duty ethics) may very well play a key role in bringing about the psychoses of at least some psychotics.

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Does nobody here have any views about whether my speculation about the possible causes of some psychoses is plausible? Or is my essay too long and boring to read?

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Does nobody here have any views about whether my speculation about the possible causes of some psychoses is plausible? Or is my essay too long and boring to read?

I suspect the topic is only of interest to those who have had similar experiences or are psychological/psychiatric professionals. You might find more interest on a BBS such people frequent.

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Does nobody here have any views about whether my speculation about the possible causes of some psychoses is plausible? Or is my essay too long and boring to read?

I suspect the topic is only of interest to those who have had similar experiences or are psychological/psychiatric professionals. You might find more interest on a BBS such people frequent.

Yes, that may be the case. But on the other hand, I have noticed that *many* of the Objectivists who are "Friends" of mine on Facebook, write in their profiles there that one of their major interests is psychology. So I thought that perhaps many other Objectivists, besides myself, are interested in the subject of psychology.

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Only read 1/3 of it (it's fairly long, yes) but I found it interesting. Particularly how you thought your house would vanish.

I am not however qualified to comment further than that.

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I am working on a book . . . . . . . . . [text omitted]

Now that you have a rich store of life experiences, and you write coherently and well, why not next write a work of fiction; a novel?

You understand the good of life and philosophy, and can contrast that with problematic life, and with some innovative plot structure, nifty characters and a good point of view, you could come up with an interesting and highly profitable work.

Inventor

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I am working on a book . . . . . . . . . [text omitted]

Now that you have a rich store of life experiences, and you write coherently and well, why not next write a work of fiction; a novel?

You understand the good of life and philosophy, and can contrast that with problematic life, and with some innovative plot structure, nifty characters and a good point of view, you could come up with an interesting and highly profitable work.

Inventor

I am in fact thinking about a novel. The novel which I am contemplating will concern moral and, to a lesser degree, political issues. The trouble is, I have never written a work of fiction before, and I am uncertain as to whether I would be able to construct a good plot.

Maybe it will be easier to write a work of fiction, once I have honed my skills writing a non-fiction book.

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I am working on a book . . . . . . . . . [text omitted]

Now that you have a rich store of life experiences, and you write coherently and well, why not next write a work of fiction; a novel?

You understand the good of life and philosophy, and can contrast that with problematic life, and with some innovative plot structure, nifty characters and a good point of view, you could come up with an interesting and highly profitable work.

Inventor

I am in fact thinking about a novel. The novel which I am contemplating will concern moral and, to a lesser degree, political issues. The trouble is, I have never written a work of fiction before, and I am uncertain as to whether I would be able to construct a good plot.

Maybe it will be easier to write a work of fiction, once I have honed my skills writing a non-fiction book.

Write 3 and publish the third, then. Ayn Rand's earlier works were commercial failures. It was only with The Fountainhead that her style had (at least according to the market) bloomed. Practice makes perfect.

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I am in fact thinking about a novel. The novel which I am contemplating will concern moral and, to a lesser degree, political issues. The trouble is, I have never written a work of fiction before, and I am uncertain as to whether I would be able to construct a good plot.

Maybe it will be easier to write a work of fiction, once I have honed my skills writing a non-fiction book.

Henrik,

Your story doesn’t have to be a complicated or long novel, it could be written as a short story or a series of them in the form of diary entries or letters. Many wonderful books have been written in this form with great success. It’s a structure that sharpens realism; it can take a reader on a really gripping journey if handled well.

I know you say you don’t have skills in fiction writing, but I’m sure you will be able to learn them. There are many creative writing courses in existence, also writing groups where writers share their work and get feedback. You already possess some important requirements e.g. fluency, authentic experience, word power, grammatical know-how etc. It would help to read some works in the epistolary genre if only to study the mechanics of construction.

Also, I think you might be interested in reading the autobiography of Janet Frame. Miss Frame suffered similarly to you and had a terrible struggle with mental health for many years; she spent a good deal of the time in lunatic asylums, as they were called then. At one stage she was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and was treated with electro convulsive therapy and insulin. Fortunately, the success of her book, which won the most prestigious award of the times, resulted in the cancellation of her scheduled lobotomy.

Her story is compelling and an award-winning film was made of her life: “An Angel At My Table”. It’s worth seeing, I think.

Best wishes.

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I am in fact thinking about a novel [...]

You may be interested in getting the CD lecture series given by Ayn Rand on the aesthetics of literature called, "The Art of Fiction", $325.00, and in transcript book form, $10.20, from the Ayn Rand Book Store. She discusses her theories regarding every main topic of literature and writing, and what is interesting to me about her approach, and that is quite evident in the lecture, is that she is multi-nuanced and can select words and phrasing that relate to a number of qualities at once. She makes the listener work to keep up, and it is most enjoyable to do so. Every artist in Objectivism should have heard the series, and have appreciated the riches she offered.

I rate the item third in importance in Objectivism, right after Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/products.asp?dept=56

Inventor

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I am in fact thinking about a novel [...]

You may be interested in getting the CD lecture series given by Ayn Rand on the aesthetics of literature called, "The Art of Fiction", $325.00, and in transcript book form, $10.20, from the Ayn Rand Book Store. She discusses her theories regarding every main topic of literature and writing, and what is interesting to me about her approach, and that is quite evident in the lecture, is that she is multi-nuanced and can select words and phrasing that relate to a number of qualities at once. She makes the listener work to keep up, and it is most enjoyable to do so. Every artist in Objectivism should have heard the series, and have appreciated the riches she offered.

I rate the item third in importance in Objectivism, right after Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/products.asp?dept=56

Inventor

A good idea. Actually, I acquired a set of the Fiction Writing course back in the late 1980s. I was running Dr. Peikoff´s lecture courses regularly in Stockholm at the time. When Dr. Peikoff discontinued the leasing of his courses, in the early 1990s, I purchased one set each of all of his courses. I also have a copy of the two books, Fiction Writing and Nonfiction Writing, which I have read. I agree with you that Ayn Rand had a lot to teach writers.

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Write 3 and publish the third, then. Ayn Rand's earlier works were commercial failures. It was only with The Fountainhead that her style had (at least according to the market) bloomed. Practice makes perfect.

Well, then I will have to write *two* works of fiction now, and the second will get published, and make me famous (?).

I tried to write a work of fiction back in the end of the 1970s, and I tried to get it published. It was not worth publishing, but my attempt to get it published almost led me to discover Objectivism. What happened was that I wrote a dystopia in the fall of 1978. It was a short novel which depicted a fictional future Sweden, which had become *totally* democratic. Every decision was made by majority vote - what work every individual should devote his life to, whom every man and woman should marry, even what everyone should eat for dinner (in the communal dining halls of course). The reason that I wrote this dystopia was that in Sweden at the time, everybody was saying that democracy was the ideal social system. I was disgusted by that. I wanted to show that a consistently democratic society would be sheer hell. And that by implication the ideal social system was the system of individual freedom.

The short novel was badly written, but I sent it to a publisher in America anyway (the novel was written in English). The publisher sent me a reply, and politely declined to publish the novel. But the letter from the publisher ended with the comment that my novel reminded them of the novels of Ayn Rand! I had never heard of Ayn Rand before. I briefly considered trying to procure a novel by this Ayn Rand, in order to find out what he or she had to say (this was in the early spring of 1979). But, unfortunately, I thought that it might be a hassle to find out where I could find Ayn Rand´s books in Sweden. As far as I knew she was completely unknown in Sweden. I had never seen her name mentioned anywhere in the Swedish mass media. So I did not put forth the requisite effort to look for Ayn Rand´s books.

Fortunately, I did discover Objectivism anyway, about a half year later. In the fall of 1979, I saw an article in a Swedish newspaper about the intellectuals who were behind the so-called "swing to the right" which was sweeping America and Western Europe at the time. The article mentioned a couple of dozen "pro-freedom" intellectuals (Milton Friedman and the like). The article stated that someone by the name of "Ayn Rand" had created a philosophical defense of capitalism. I was intrigued. I remembered that the letter from the American publisher a half year earlier had mentioned this "Ayn Rand", so I decided that I had to find out what Ayn Rand had to say. So I visited a large bookstore in central Stockholm, which specialized in "intellectual", academic books, and searched its bookshelves. Sure enough, they had about half a dozen titles by Ayn Rand. I chose to buy The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal, mainly because I was fascinated by those two books´ titles. Did this Ayn Rand seriously mean that selfishness was a *virtue* and that capitalism was an *ideal*? I found out that she did. And I wound up agreeing with her.

I became the second individual in Sweden to become a serious Objectivist. The first one was Per-Olof Samuelsson, who discovered Objectivism way back in 1973 (if I recall correctly). Nowadays there are probably at least 50 serious students of Objectivism in Sweden (by my estimate anyway). Per-Olof and I probably deserve some credit for that.

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