The Need for a Value System

I think the excerpt below is quite important:

"And the point right now is not whether she was right or wrong in all respects of that vision, but that she had a vision, a highly developed one, one that seemed to promise comprehensiveness, intelligibility, and clarity -- one that promised answers to a lot of burningly important questions about life. And human beings long for that.

We humans have a need to feel we understand the world in which we live. We have a need to make sense out of our experience. We have a need for some intelligible portrait of who we are as human beings and what our lives are or should be about. In short, we have a need for a philosophical vision of reality.

But twentieth-century philosophy has almost totally backed off from the responsibility of offering such a vision or addressing itself to the kind of questions human beings struggle with in the course of their existence. Twentieth-century philosophy typically scorns system building. The problems to which it addresses itself grow smaller and smaller and more and more remote from human experience. At their philosophical conferences and conventions, philosophers explicitly acknowledge that they have nothing of practical value to offer anyone. This is not my accusation; they announce it themselves.

During the same period of history, the twentieth century, orthodox religion has lost more and more of its hold over people's minds and lives. It is perceived as more and more irrelevant. Its demise as a cultural force really began with the Renaissance and has been declining ever since.

But the need for answers persists. The need for values by which to guide our lives remains unabated. The hunger for intelligibility is as strong as it ever was. The world around us is more and more confusing, more and more frightening; the need to understand it cries out in anguish.

One evidence of this need, today, is the rise of cults, the resurgence of belief in astrolgy, pop mysticism, and the popularity of self-appointed gurus."

http://mol.redbarn.org/objectivism/Writing/NathanielBranden/BenefitsAndHazards.html