WHAT IS A "PHILOSOPHY"?
Objectivism is a philosophy, or system of beliefs, that was created in the United States in the twentieth century by Ayn Rand.
Objectivism offers and defends its own set of answers to the important questions of life and existence.
You may be familiar with some of these questions, if not the answers, from well-known religions (e.g. Christianity and Catholicism) or other non-religious philosophies (e.g. Marxism).
What do we mean when we talk about “reality”?
What is knowledge and how do we gain it?
How do we find out if something is true?
What does “morality” mean?
What does it mean to be a good person, and should I try to be one?
How should society be governed?
What is happiness and how can we find it?
What is beauty and why does it matter?
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
The answers to these questions are important because they determine:
How you will choose to lead your life
What you will seek to achieve in life and how you will define success and fulfillment
How others will choose to lead their lives and interact with you
How society will be organized.
For more about why philosophy matters, we recommend Ayn Rand's famous lecture and essay, Philosophy: Who Needs It.
WHAT DO OBJECTIVISTS BELIEVE?
There are many resources, online and offline, which explain the key points of Objectivism. Many of them can be found on this website.
One of the shortest summaries possible was given by Ayn Rand herself, when she was asked to explain her philosophy while "standing on one foot".
Ayn Rand replied...
Metaphysics: Objective Reality
and later summarized as...
'Nature to be commanded, must be obeyed' or 'Wishing won't make it so.'
You can't have your cake and eat it too.'
'man is an end in himself.'
'Give me liberty or give me death.'
WHO WAS AYN RAND?
Ayn Rand, the philosopher who created and developed Objectivism, was born in Russia in 1905 and spent most of her life in the United States, where she became a proud American by choice. She is most famous as a novelist and her most widely read books are The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
Some details of her life can be found here.