Would Ayn Rand support “Giving Back”?
Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist, playwright, screenwriter and philosopher. A lot of people in technology have been influenced and inspired by Rand – not by her politics, but by her world view. Her book, Atlas Shrugged, is a personal favorite of mine
Last week I learned that Rand has just been included on A-Level Curriculum in the UK (taught in secondary and pre-university schools 16-18) and I’ve been considering what Rand would think about the overarching mission of the iMasons – To Connect, Grow, and particularly, Giving Back.
In the 1930s and 40s, Rand built up the idea of individualist morality—an idea that sets up selfishness as a virtue and that people should be free to pursue their own happiness.
To start, let’s exercise Rand’s thoughts around Selfishness and Happiness.
Rand’s view on Selfishness can be misinterpreted – Ayn Rand’s philosophy is very challenging (at least to me!)…. but I think Rand’s view is that Selfishness doesn’t mean exploiting others for you own gain – it means reaching your own highest potential by perusing rational aims and living in harmony with others by respecting their right to their own life and happiness – the result of this philosophy is a life of reason, purpose and self-esteem. Selfishness doesn’t mean indulging your own desires – it means really thinking about “what are my values and how do I actually pursue them in a rational, productive way?
According to Rand’s philosophy – the achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.
“if you know that this is the only life you have then wouldn’t you make the most of it” Ayn Rand
Giving Back – A component Value of Happiness
For many, Giving Back is a component of their set of values. As Rand put it: “It is morally proper to accept help, when it is offered, not as a moral duty, but as an act of good will and generosity, when the giver can afford it (i.e., when it does not involve self-sacrifice on his part).”
Giving back isn’t “a moral duty or a primary virtue”.
Would Ayn Rand Give Support Giving Back….
Giving back without the expectation of future self-benefit is charity, and seems to be what Rand discourages. But giving back with the expectation that you might receive some benefit back fits with her self-centreed philosophy. i.e., if I mentor young people as a way of insuring my industry continues to succeed, then I benefit myself in the long run.
The iMasons were formed in 2016 – a global non-profit, professional association guided by an Advisory Council (AC) of industry leaders responsible for the largest and most advanced digital infrastructure portfolios in the world.
The world runs on technical infrastructure. The iMasons represent the global professionals that coordinate, design, build, operate and grow. iMasons is where great minds meet to solve the complex problems facing our industry as we continue to grow and evolve.
The overarching aim of iM is to “Connect, Grow and Give Back“.
iM is very active in driving more talent into the digital infrastructure industry by, for example, providing Scholarships to students and promoting Diversity.
Current AC members on this link iM AC
Value of iM Blog The meaning of iM
EDU / Sponsorship iM Scholarship
Diversity Champion Award iM Diversity Champion Award
Infrastructure Masons Fund
In-line with our mission to “give back” to our community, iMasons maintains a charitable giving program called the IM Fund which is broadly dedicated to researching, recommending, and implementing charitable donations, investments in people and industry, and other monetary and volunteer contributions that advance the digital infrastructure industry. Through 2017 iMasons seeded the IM Fund from internal operations, and we plan to continue to grow it.
iMasons has received a few funding requests. Some were funded, others were not. As we considered these opportunities we saw the need to focus our charitable giving. Our focus, at least in the near-term, will be on accelerating the flow of talent into our industry by developing a scholarship program for students entering, or currently in, education or training programs that prepare them to enter the digital infrastructure field. We are currently developing the processes and policies to implement a sound scholarship program and we plan to make scholarships available to students accepted into specific education and training programs that iMasons recognizes in time to be applied to admissions in fall term, 2018.
iMasons is currently prepared to put $50,000 toward scholarships, and we have also received contributions from generous partners and individual members who are aligned with our goal of accelerating the flow of talent into our industry.
Consistent with iMason’s diversity values and our strategic focus on finding and developing the most ready source of talent, we plan to award 50% of the scholarship money to qualified women applicants. So, women are encouraged to apply!
Contributions to iMasons Scholarship Fund
Donations to iMasons are generally not tax deductible as charitable donations. However, iMasons can facilitate donations to the iMasons Scholarship Fund made through a third-party 501(c)3 non-profit such that those donations are typically tax deductible (please obtain tax advice). Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about contributing to the iMasons Scholarship Fund.
In the future the IM Fund may support broader types of initiatives in-line with iMason’s mission. Let us know if you have hot ideas!
We are the builders of the digital age. Join us: http://imasons.org/join