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In a Time of Crisis, Is Self-Esteem a Luxury?

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, more people are understandably focused on their immediate physical well-being. There’s more urgency to stay healthy and to secure food, supplies, and employment. But what about self-esteem? It is certainly nice to have, but is it essential? Do we need it all the time, or can we set it aside until other, more basic, needs are satisfied? In this episode of New Ideal Live, Gena Gorlin, professor and clinical psychologist, joins ARI’s Ben Bayer to discuss the role of self-esteem in life and during times of crisis.

The discussion draws on Gorlin’s recent article “COVID-19 and the Meaning of Life.” Bayer and Gorlin discuss the crucial importance of meeting both our physical and spiritual (i.e., psychological) needs. How to satisfy those needs may change over time or during times of crisis, but the needs themselves are constant. They also discuss Ayn Rand’s view of self-esteem as a cardinal moral value and the role of the concept in her fiction.

For additional resources on the value of and need for self-esteem, look at the Ayn Rand Lexicon entry on self-esteem and Gorlin’s recent Objectivist summer conference lecture Earning Your Own Trust: The Psychology of Honesty.

This podcast was recorded on May 20, 2020. Watch or listen to the discussion below.

To see future episodes of New Ideal Live, join the Zoom broadcast on Mondays or Wednesdays at 11 a.m. Pacific and take part in the Q&A. Go to https://zoom.us/join and use meeting ID: 812-506-718. Or catch the livestream or recording on YouTube and Facebook.

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Paul Taske

Paul Taske, J.D., was a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.

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