The passage below comes from Ayn Rand’s book The Romantic Manifesto, which describes her philosophy of art, in particular literature.

It strongly applies to me.

At a time i was learning maths and english in school—no doubt useful things—the most important subject of all, philosophy, the one which could put the different parts of life into perspective, and give me knowledge of society and where i sat in it, wasn’t even on the agenda.

While technological development is speeding ahead, philosophical development is still at least a century behind.

Yet philosophy, minus its ponderous, overcast aspects, is comparatively simple, and provides a solid framework to grow life on.

But i knew nothing about it when i was younger— and later was introduced to ideas masquerading as philosophy that were harmful or incomplete—so was adrift for years, a vagabond in a land i didn’t understand, a harmless, meek, somewhat dysfunctional person, who took this state of confusion with him into adulthood.

I seemed to learn less about life as i went on, and only in recent years, after dealing with poor health and financial stasis that i was able to reorient myself and turn my life around.

Technology, specifically ebooks, and the internet made this possible.

So thank you to all the people in these areas that made, and continue to make them happen.

This isn’t to say i know all about life now, and have the midas touch, but that now at least i have the understanding to make a better, more conscious go of it.

The excerpt following refers to the “frantic, hysterical irrationality of most adolescents.”

Many today seem intelligent and focused—things i wasn’t—but regardless, if they haven’t been given a practical understanding of philosophy, they’ll be missing a basic tool for understanding life and their place in it.

In my case, though i may not have been really hysterical, and only a little frantic, there’s no doubt i was on good terms with the irrational.

The integrated sum of a man’s basic values is his sense of life.

A sense of life represents a man’s early value-integrations, which remain in a fluid, plastic, easily amendable state, while he gathers knowledge to reach full conceptual control and thus to drive his inner mechanism. A full conceptual control means a consciously directed process of cognitive integration, which means: a conscious philosophy of life.

By the time he reaches adolescence, a man’s knowledge is sufficient to deal with broad fundamentals; this is the period when he becomes aware of the need to translate his incoherent sense of life into conscious terms. This is the period when he gropes for such things as the meaning of life, for principles, ideals, values and, desperately, for self-assertion. And—since nothing is done, in our anti-rational culture, to assist a young mind in this crucial transition, and everything possible is done to hamper, cripple, stultify it—the result is the frantic, hysterical irrationality of most adolescents, particularly today. Theirs is the agony of the unborn—of minds going through a process of atrophy at the time set by nature for their growth.