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Offline laconas

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The Ayn Rand Thread
« on: April 30, 2009, 08:21:02 PM »
Let's start here...



First edition cover



We the Living is the first novel published by the American novelist Ayn Rand. It was also Rand's first expression against communism. First published in 1936, it is a story of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Ayn Rand observes in the foreword to this book that We the Living was the closest she would ever come to writing an autobiography. Her working title for the novel had been "Airtight." We the Living was first completed in 1934, but, despite the support it received from H.L. Mencken, it was rejected by several publishers, until 1936, when George Platt Brett of Macmillan Publishing agreed to publish her book.[1] Brett said "he did not know if they would make money on it or not, but that it was a novel that should be published."[2]



Plot


The story takes place from 1922 to 1925, in post-revolutionary Russia. Kira Argounova, the protagonist of the story, is the younger daughter of a bourgeois capitalist. An independent spirit with a will to match, she rejects any attempt by her family or the nascent Socialist State to cast her into a mold. At the beginning of the story, Kira returns to Petrograd along with her family, after a prolonged exile from the assault of the revolutionaries. Kira's father had been the owner of a textile factory, which had been seized and nationalized. The family, having given up all hopes of regaining their past possessions after the emphatic victories of the Red Army in the last four years, is resigned to its fate, as it returns to the city in search of livelihood. It finds, to its dismay, that their expansive mansion has likewise been seized, and converted to living quarters for several families. Left with nowhere to go, the family moves into Kira's aunt Marussia's apartment.

The severity of life in the newly socialized Russia is biting and cruel, especially for the people belonging to the now-stigmatized middle class. Kira's uncle Vasili has also lost his family business to the state, and has been forced to sell off his possessions, one at a time, for money (which has lost much of its value owing to steep inflation rates). Money has ceased to be a major representative of "wealth and power". Private enterprises have been strictly controlled, and licenses to run them allotted only to those "enjoying the trust" of the proletariat. Food is rationed. Only laborers of nationalized businesses and students in state-run educational institutions have access to ration cards. The family of five survives on the ration cards allotted to the two younger members of the family, who are students.

After a brief stay at Vasili's home, Kira's family manages to find for itself living quarters. Kira's father also manages to get a license to open a textile shop, an establishment but a shadow of his old industry. Life is excruciatingly difficult in these times. Rand portrays the bleak scenarios by vivid descriptions of long queues, weary citizens and low standards of living. (Everyone regularly cooks on a kerosene camp stove, usually a Swedish Primus stove, and the typical main course is millet, or whatever can be blended together.)

With some effort, Kira manages to register with the State and obtain her Labor Book (which permits her to study and work). Kira also manages to enroll herself into the Technological Institute, where she aspires to fulfill her dream of becoming an engineer. She plans to storm the male bastion of engineers, and show her prowess by building strong structures and powerful machines. Kira's strength of resolve to fulfill her dream is asserted again and again, at various points in the storyline. Becoming a meritorious engineer would be Kira's answer to carve for herself a niche, in a society that has become characterless and anonymous, and whose primary purpose in life has been reduced to subsistence, rather than excellence. At the Institute, Kira meets Andrei Taganov, a co-student, an idealistic Communist, and an officer in the G.P.U, the secret police of the Soviet. The two share a mutual respect and admiration for each other in spite of their differing political beliefs. Andrei and Kira develop a friendship that endures until the end of the story.
We the Living, Centennial edition.

In a chance encounter, Kira meets Leo Kovalensky on a dark night in a seedy neighborhood. Leo is an extremely attractive man with a free spirit, only to be matched by Kira's. It's love at first sight for Kira, and she unflinchingly throws herself at Leo. Leo, who initially takes her to be a prostitute, is also strongly attracted to her and promises to meet her again. Kira and Leo are shown to be united by their desperate lives, and their lofty beliefs that ran counter to what were being thrust on them by the State. After a couple of meetings, when they share their deep contempt for the state of their lives, the two plan to escape together from the land, on a clandestine mission operated by secret ships.

The novel, from this point on, cascades into a series of catastrophes for Kira and Leo. They are caught while attempting to flee the country, but escape imprisonment due to the generosity of a G.P.U. official, Stepan Timoshenko, who had fought under the command of Leo's father before the revolution. Kira leaves her parents' apartment and moves into Leo's. The relationship between Kira and Leo, intense and passionate in the beginning, begins to deteriorate under the weight of their hardships, and because of their different reactions to these hardships. Kira, who is a realist, keeps her ideas and aspirations alive, but decides to go with the system anyway, until she feels powerful enough to challenge it. Her candor about her ideas at the Institute ultimately results in her expulsion from the Institute, despite Andrei's efforts to avert it. On the verge of starvation, Kira finds work with the help of Andrei, enough to retain her ration card. Leo, however, burdened by his class background, and without any communist friend to help him, fails to find work, and sinks slowly into indifference and depression. He contracts tuberculosis and is prescribed treatment and recuperation in a sanotorium in Crimea in the South. Kira's efforts to finance his treatment fail, and her passionate appeals to the authorities to get State help for his stay at the sanatorium fall on deaf ears.

Andrei, an equally important person in Kira's life, is portrayed by Rand as a man of character, resolve, and an unassailable loyalty to his party and ideology. Despite his political beliefs, Kira finds him to be the one person she could trust, and with whom she could discuss her most intimate thoughts and views. Not even Leo could fulfill that role for her. Andrei's affection and respect for Kira knows no bounds, and is slowly transformed into love. Worried what this might do to their "beautiful and rare" friendship, he starts avoiding Kira. Kira misses him, and needs his help. Eventually when she confronts him in his house, Andrei explains his avoidance of her and confesses his love for her. Kira is dismayed at first, but recovers to find in it a way to finance Leo's treatment. Reluctant, but in desperation, she feigns love for Andrei, and agrees to become his mistress in return for the promise of complete secrecy about their relationship. Kira is never comfortable with what she was doing with her body, but is even more frightened by "what she was doing to another man's soul".

The narrative reaches a state of climactic pace when Leo returns from Crimea, cured of tuberculosis and healthy, but a changed man. Ignoring Kira's protests, he opens a food store with the help of his morally bankrupt and rich friends, and a corrupt member of the Communist Party. The store is but a facade for illegal speculation and trade. Andrei is tipped off about this venture by Stepan Timoshenko, who commits suicide after depositing a key piece of evidence with him. Ignoring Kira's pleas, and unaware of her love for Leo, Andrei starts investigating Leo's store. After a search at his house, he arrests Leo for crimes against the State, which could carry a death sentence. In the process, he finds out about Kira's relationship with Leo. The ensuing confrontation between Andrei and Kira is perhaps the most poignant passage in the story. In the end, both realize what they had done to each other and how their passion and pretension had led them to the destruction of what each had held in "the highest reverence". Andrei decides to redress the situation, at least for Kira, and moves to restore Leo to her, risking his own standing in the Party.

After Leo's release from the prison at Andrei's behest, the story ends in a tragedy for all the three. Andrei loses his position in the Party, and shortly thereafter, commits suicide. Kira, perhaps the only genuine mourner at his State funeral, wonders if she had killed him. Leo, having lost any moral sense that he may have left, leaves Kira to begin a new life as a gigolo, fulfilling the earlier portrayal of him as such by a perceptive Irina, Kira's cousin. After Leo's departure, Kira makes a final attempt to cross the border. When she is almost in sight of freedom and liberation from her hellish life, she is shot by a border guard and soon dies. Kira remains loyal to her love for Leo until the end, and says at one point "When a person dies, one does not stop loving him, does one?"


A Communist Hero in an Anti-Communist novel


The sympathetic portrayal of the staunchly Communist Andrei Taganov is one of the book's most intriguing features. There is no remotely similar character in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four and other books depicting life under a totalitarian regime, nor in any of Rand's own later books.

Indeed, Taganov's biography in Chapter 8 is replete with passages which - if quoted out of the context of a book which is vehemently anti-Communist - could have come from the pen of an enthusiastic supporter of the October Revolution, such as:

    In the year 1918, Andrei Taganov, in the uniform of the Red Army, marched with rows of other uniforms, from shops and factories, through the streets of Petrograd, to the tune of the Internationale, to the depot, to the front of the civil war. He marched solemnly, with silent triumph, as a man walks to his wedding. Andrei's hand carried a bayonet as it had fashioned steel; it pulled a trigger as it had pushed a lever.

All the above, however, takes place in flashbacks to the days of the civil war; in the books' present, the Monarchists have long been vanquished, Communist rule is unchallenged and is presented most negatively - especially when compared to the far-off Capitalist America, Rand's ideal in this as in other books.

Film adaptation

Without Rand's permission, We the Living was made into a two-part film, Noi Vivi and Addio, Kira in 1942, despite resistance from the Italian government under Benito Mussolini. The film was eventually pulled from theatres as the German and Italian governments, which abhorred communism, found out the story also carried an anti-fascist message. The films were directed by Goffredo Alessandrini for Scalera Films, and starred Alida Valli as Kira, Fosco Giachetti as Andrei, and Rossano Brazzi as Leo. The films were re-edited into a new version which was approved by Rand and re-released as We the Living in 1986.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_the_Living
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Offline FrankDialogue

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2009, 08:37:14 PM »
You like Rand?...I have read a bit of her work, but not enough to really critique it as writing...I found it boring, to my tastes...Her 'philosophy' of objectivism is shared by a number of posters here, one still active, another one not active...They most likely don't realize that they subscribe to her world view...Very interesting movie about her, called the 'Passion of Ayn Rand' starring actress Helen Mirron...Her character was rather repulsive in the movie...Her real name was Rosenbaum...She had a good hustle going in the US...Goyim lapped up her 'new ism'...Israeli Christian writer Israel Shamir has made the claim that when Alan Greenspan took an oath of office for the US Government, he swore on the Talmud, and Rand was there to witness it...Shamir calls Rand a 'satanist...I would agree...Also, she was a prototype feminist.


Offline laconas

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2009, 08:55:26 PM »
Quote
You like Rand?...

I don't enough to say. I'm just curious to learn more about her since she's obviously effected many people in positions of power in the 20th century.
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Offline laconas

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2009, 09:13:51 PM »



The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand. It was Rand's first major literary success and its royalties and movie rights brought her fame and financial security. The book's title is a reference to Rand's statement that "man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress".

The Fountainhead's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an idealistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision. The book follows his battle to practice modern architecture, which he believes to be superior, despite an establishment centered on tradition-worship. How others in the novel relate to Roark demonstrate Rand's various archetypes of human character, all of which are variants between Roark, her ideal man of independent-mindedness and integrity, and what she described as the "second-handers." The complex relationships between Roark and the various kinds of individuals who assist or hinder his progress, or both, allows the novel to be at once a romantic drama and a philosophical work.

The manuscript was rejected by twelve publishers before a young editor, Archibald Ogden, at the Bobbs-Merrill Company publishing house wired to the head office, "If this is not the book for you, then I am not the editor for you." Despite generally negative early reviews from the contemporary media, the book gained a following by word of mouth and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The Fountainhead was made into a Hollywood film in 1949, with Gary Cooper in the lead role of Howard Roark, and with a screenplay by Ayn Rand herself.

Contents
[hide]

    * 1 Plot
    * 2 Characters
          o 2.1 Peter Keating
          o 2.2 Ellsworth Toohey
          o 2.3 Gail Wynand
          o 2.4 Howard Roark
          o 2.5 Dominique Francon
    * 3 Main themes
          o 3.1 Architectural theme
          o 3.2 Objectivism
    * 4 Literary significance and criticism
    * 5 Library of Congress dispute
    * 6 In popular culture
          o 6.1 Film adaptation
          o 6.2 Cultural references
    * 7 References
    * 8 See also
    * 9 Further reading
    * 10 External links

[edit] Plot

Howard Roark, a brilliant young architect, is expelled from the Stanton Institute of Technology[1] for refusing to abide by its outdated traditions. He goes to New York City to work for Henry Cameron, a disgraced architect whom Roark admires - being formally Cameron's employee but in fact his disciple and in effect his adopted son. Roark`s highly successful but vacuous schoolmate, Peter Keating, also moves to New York to work for the prestigious architectural firm, Francon & Heyer. Roark and Cameron create inspired work, but their projects rarely receive recognition, whereas Keating`s ability to flatter and please brings him almost instant success despite his lack of originality.

Roark closes his office rather than compromise his drawings, and his ideals, to the whims of his clients. He takes a job at a Connecticut granite quarry owned by Guy Francon, whose beautiful, temperamental, and idealistic daughter, Dominique, beguiles Peter Keating.

While Roark is working in the quarry, he encounters Dominique, who has taken an extended holiday in the same town as the quarry. There is an immediate attraction between them, which results in peculiar flirtation and ultimate culmination in what Dominique subsequently describes as rape.

Ellsworth Toohey, a columnist for The New York Banner (a yellow press-style newspaper owned by Gail Wynand) and author of the popular column One Small Voice, is an outspoken socialist, who is covertly rising to power by shaping public opinion through his column and his circle of influential associates, and whose quite openly proclaimed designs are not understood or taken seriously. Toohey sets out to destroy Roark through a smear campaign he spearheads at the Banner. As the first step, Toohey convinces a weak-minded businessman named Hopton Stoddard to hire Roark as the designer for a temple dedicated to the human spirit and gives Roark carte blanche to design it as he sees fit. Roark designs the temple, with a naked statue of Dominique, which creates the first public outcry against Howard and Stoddard is (with Toohey's encouragement) appalled at what Roark has built. Toohey further manipulates Stoddard into suing Roark for general incompetence and fraud. At Roark`s trial, every prominent architect in New York (including Keating) testifies that Roark`s style is unorthodox and illegitimate. Dominique defends Roark, but Stoddard wins the case and Roark loses his business again.

Dominique believes that greatness such as Roark's should never be offered to a public unable to appreciate it, and decides that since she cannot have the world she wants (in which men like him are recognized for what they are) she will live completely and entirely in the world she has, which shuns him and praises Keating. That evening, Dominique pays Keating a visit, and makes him a one-time offer of her hand in marriage. Keating accepts, and they are married that evening. Dominique turns her entire spirit over to Peter, hosting the dinners he wants, agreeing with him, and saying whatever he wants her to say. She fights Roark, and herds all of his potential clients over to the slowly weakening Keating. Despite this, Roark continues to attract a small but steady stream of perceptive, intelligent clients who see the value in his work.

To win Keating a prestigious architecture commission offered by Gail Wynand, the owner and editor-in-chief of the Banner, Dominique agrees to sleep with Wynand. Wynand then buys Keating's silence and a divorce for Dominique and Keating, after which Wynand and Dominique are married.

Wynand subsequently discovers that every building he likes is done by Roark, so he enlists Howard to build a home for himself and Dominique. The home is built, and Howard and Gail become great friends, though Wynand does not know about his past relationship with Dominique.

Now washed up and out of the public eye, Keating realizes he is a failure. Rather than accept retirement, he pleads with Toohey for his influence in favour of Keating to get the commission for the much sought after Cortlandt housing project. Keating knows that his most successful projects were aided by Roark, and he knows Roark is the only person who can design Cortlandt. Roark agrees to design it in exchange for complete anonymity -- and the agreement that it would be built exactly as he designed.

When Roark returns from a long yacht trip with Wynand he finds that, despite the agreement, the Cortlandt Homes project has been changed. Roark asks Dominique to distract the night watchman and dynamites the building to prevent the subversion of his vision. The entire country condemns Roark, but Wynand finally finds the courage to follow his convictions and orders his newspapers to defend him. The Banner`s circulation drops and the workers go on strike (thanks to Toohey's quiet conspiracy to "stack" the paper with those who agree with him, or those whom he can control), but Wynand keeps printing with Dominique`s help. Eventually the tide of public opinion rises against Wynand and most of his staff leaves in protest. Wynand is eventually faced with the choice of closing the paper or reversing his stance and agreeing to the union demands; he gives in, the newspaper publishes a denunciation of Roark over Wynand's signature.

At the trial, Roark seems doomed, but he rouses the courtroom with a speech about the value of ego and the need to remain true to oneself. The jury finds him not guilty. Roark marries Dominique. Wynand, who has finally grasped the nature of the "power" he thought he held, asks Roark to design one last building, a skyscraper that will testify to the supremacy of man: "Build it as a monument to that spirit which is yours...and could have been mine."

A brief epilogue eighteen months later shows the Wynand Building well on its way to completion. The last scene follows Dominique (now Mrs. Roark), entering the site to meet Roark atop the steel framework.

[edit] Characters

The novel is split into four sections; Keating, Toohey, Wynand, and Roark. Peter Keating is "the man who couldn't be, and doesn't know it", who wants to achieve success as well as make a name for himself. But, he lives off the support and condolence of others, which is what leads to his demise. Ellsworth Toohey, presented as the complete antithesis of Roark, is "the man who couldn't be, and knows it", who sets out to destroy others through guilt and altruism, because he knows that this is the only way he can accomplish anything. Gail Wynand is the "man who could have been", who rises from the poverty of his youth to a position of power and riches. But Wynand uses his superlative talent not to create for himself, but to control others, which leads to his own demise. The major characters exist as foils to Howard Roark who is Rand's image of the perfect man and, to a lesser extent, to contrast Toohey, who is portrayed as absolute evil. Roark is the man who was "as man should be", who lives for himself and his own creativity, indifferent to the opinions of others. (Dominique Francon is presented as the perfect mistress for Roark. Over the course of the novel she must learn not to fear society and not to let its flaws undermine her integrity.)

The first and fourth sections are quite obviously structured as two parallel and contrasting biographies - of Roark (4th section) and of Keating (1st section): Roark is expelled from the Stanton Institute while Keating graduates as the star student; Keating goes to work in the big and prestigious office of Guy Francon, and spends his time mainly on vicious office politics in order to sweep rival after rival out of his way; Roark goes to work in the rundown office of Henry Cameron in order to learn how to build - a disciple rather than employee; Keating celebrates the achievement of a partnership in Francon's office, with all the prominent architects of America gathered to welcome him - while Roark goes off to work as a manual worker in a granite quarry, rather than pervert his ideas; Roark feels wild exultation at seeing the Enright Building erected, fully expressing his ideas and vision - while Keating feels nothing in the inauguration of the Cosmo-Slotnik Building, "a big bromide" whose only good parts were secretly designed by Roark.

From the third section on, Keating's career (and his life in general) takes a sharp downward turn, and it is Wynand - who was kept offstage in the previous books - who becomes the foil for Roark, in a more subtle and complicated way.

[edit] Peter Keating

Peter Keating is also an aspiring architect, but is everything that Roark is not. His original tendency was to become a painter, but his opportunistic mother pushed him toward architecture where he might have greater material success. Keating's creative abilities are mediocre, but his willingness to build what others wish leads him to temporary success. He attends architecture school with Roark, who helps him with some of his less inspired projects. He is subservient to the wills of others: Dominique Francon's father, the architectural establishment, his mother, even Roark himself. Keating is "a man who never could be, but doesn't know it". The one sincere thing in Keating's life is his love for Catherine. She is Ellsworth Toohey's niece, but Keating initially refuses her suggestion to introduce him to her uncle. He does this despite the fact that an introduction to the influential architectural critic Toohey would help his career. In all other circumstances Keating is absolutely relentless and ruthless in furthering his career, even to the extent of bullying a sick old man and causing his death. Keating's offer to elope with Catherine is his one chance to act on what he believes is his own desire. But, Dominique arrives at that precise moment and offers to marry him for her own reasons, and his acceptance of the offer and betrayal of Catherine ends the potential of romance between them. Both Keating and Catherine end up embodying the soulless result of devoting oneself to altruism.

[edit] Ellsworth Toohey

Ellsworth Monkton Toohey, who writes a popular architectural column, is Roark's antagonist. Toohey is an unabashed collectivist and Rand's personification of evil (when speaking freely, he explicitly compares himself to Goethe's Mephisto, who tempted Faust to destruction). He falsely styles himself as representative of the will of the masses.

    Aiming at a society that shall be "an average drawn upon zeroes," he knows exactly why he corrupts Peter Keating, his boss, and explains his methods to the ruined young man in a passage that is a pyrotechnical display of the fascist mind at its best and its worst; the use of the ideal of altruism to destroy personal integrity, the use of humor and tolerance to destroy all standards, the use of sacrifice to enslave.[2]

Having no true genius, Toohey's mission is to destroy excellence and promote altruism as the ultimate social ideal. This is put forward in one of his most memorable quotes: "Don`t set out to raze all shrines`”you`ll frighten men. Enshrine mediocrity, and the shrines are razed."

Rand used her memory of the British democratic socialist Harold Laski to help her imagine what he would do in a given situation.[3] Lewis Mumford was also an initial inspiration.[3]

In the biography of Toohey, it is mentioned that in his younger age he aspired to become a clergyman, but abandoned religion after discovering Socialism and considering that it better served his purposes. (There is no explicit mention of what denomination the young Toohey belonged to, but a later reference by his niece Catherine to the time when she used to "go to confession in church" seems to indicate a Roman Catholic background). In that, Toohey's early career parallels that of Stalin, who had also trained for the priesthood in his young age - though Toohey's methods are much more subtle than those of the Soviet dictator, and he builds up a formidable power structure without resorting to an outright seizure of power or establishing a secret police apparatus.

Indeed, even when frankly describing the nightmare world which is his ultimate aim ("A world where the thought of each man will not be his own, but an attempt to guess the thought of his neighbor (...) Men will not work for money, but for prestige, the approval of their fellows - not judgment, but public polls") Toohey makes no mention of any overt dictatorship or coercive apparatus. Rather, Toohey's methods throughout the book suggest that such a regime might be able to retain the forms of democracy, multi-party elections and a free press, with actual power held by Toohey-like "informal advisers".

As described in his biography, Toohey had already in early childhood developed a talent for subtly manipulating his parents and elementary school class-mates in order to gain power over them. The adult Toohey - who "never sees men, only forces" (Book II, Ch. 6) - is a master schemer and manipulator, who like a chess master can devise a gambit and predict many moves in advance. For example, Toohey sets Hopton Stoddard to hire Roark for the construction of his temple - and without having ever spoken to Roark, just by having seen Roark's buildings, Toohey is able to give his proxy Stoddard the arguments which would induce Roark to undertake the job: "It doesn't matter if you don't believe in God, Mr. Roark; you are a profoundly religious man, in your own way. I can see it in your buildings". Having seen Roark's buildings, Toohey has a good idea what kind of temple Roark would construct - and even before Roark ever heard of Stoddard and his temple, Toohey already planned how he would attack the temple once built, get it destroyed and Roark discredited, and transform it an "institute for subnormal children".

Roark's and Toohey's being the precise antithesis of each other is emphasized by a similarity in the way that Roark's buildings are first introduced in the book ("They were the first houses built by the first man born, who had never heard of others building before him") and the way that Toohey's public speaking is introduced ("The voice spoke English words, but the resonant clarity of each syllable made it sound like a new language spoken for the first time"). Toohey in fact very much wants Roark's recognition, claiming in effect that his perception of the significance of Roark's work and then destroying it makes him the equal of its creator `” a claim which Roark rebuffs in their only face-to-face encounter in the entire book (excluding Roark's trials): "Why don't you tell me what you think of me, Mr. Roark?" Roark replies, "But I don't think of you."

"But I don't think of you" Roark's statement "But I don't think of you" to Toohey is one of the most well-known lines in the book (as in the film made on its basis) [4]. As noted by Rand herself in the introduction to the 1968 edition, it was inspired by words actually said by her husband Frank O'Connor "to a different type of person, in a somewhat similar kind of context".

[edit] Gail Wynand
Main article: Gail Wynand

Gail Wynand is a powerful newspaper mogul who rose from a destitute childhood in the ghettoes of New York City to control the city's print media. While Wynand shares many of the character qualities of Roark, his success is dependent upon his ability to manipulate public opinion, a flaw which eventually leads to his downfall. Rand describes Wynand as "a man who could have been." It has been speculated that Wynand is partially based on real-life newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst since Hearst himself started by taking over his father's newspaper and spread from there. Hearst was also known as the father of the yellow journalism, which Wynand is known for in the The Fountainhead. Furthermore, much like Wynand, Hearst had his own dream house constructed in California, the landmark Hearst Castle. Eventually, both real and fictional moguls sold out their empires, taking the businesses public in order to keep the newspapers from going under. Despite the obvious parallels, however, Rand states in her introduction that none of her characters were based upon real people.

[edit] Howard Roark

An aspiring architect with a unique and uncompromising creative vision, he contrasts sharply with the staid and uninspired conventions of the architectural establishment. He ignores the driving preoccupations of the world around him: wealth, status, social standing among the elite. Roark takes pleasure in the act of creation. But, he is constantly opposed by "the hostility of second-hand souls", the second-handers; those unwilling or afraid to recognize his creative ability.

Howard Roark, likely inspired by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is Rand's protagonist in the novel, and is uncompromising in delivering his artistic vision. Kicked out of architecture school, Roark is Rand's ultimate creator in that he viewed group creative decision-making as the ultimate form of mediocrity. He is the archetypal genius visionary behind all of his architectural creations, and never yields in his convictions. Courted by Dominique (The boss's daughter in a well-regarded New York firm), he temporarily gets sucked into upper-crust, post-depression-era high society, but in the end, rails against it and ends up on trial for "dynamiting a building" he designed that was compromised and watered-down by politics and the other architects and business men involved. His statement to the court in part four /chapter 18 sums up Ayn Rand's philosophy of "Objectivism", the prior 674 pages being the set up for the point she makes. Howard Roark is essentially Ayn Rand's "perfect man", and she most likely meant for him to be a role model for all artists for artistic integrity, purity, and flawless execution of a creative idea.

[edit] Dominique Francon

Dominique Francon is the heroine of The Fountainhead, described by Rand as "the woman for a man like Howard Roark." Dominique is the daughter of Guy Francon, a highly successful but creatively inhibited architect. Peter Keating is employed by her father, and her intelligence, insight and observations are above his. It is only through Roark that her love of pleasure and autonomy meets a worthy equal. These strengths are also what she initially lets stifle her growth and make her life miserable. She begins thinking that the world did not deserve her sincerity and intellect, because the people around her did not measure up to her standards. She starts out punishing the world and herself for all the things about man which she despises, through self-defeating behavior. She initially believes that greatness, such as Roark's, is doomed to fail and will be destroyed by the 'collectivist' masses around them. She eventually joins Roark romantically, but before she can do this, she must learn to join him in his perspective and purpose.

However, Dominique Francon eventually learns not to let a flawed society and misled zeitgeist inhibit her creative and emotional expression and drive, nor poison her hope in her own ideals. By the end of the novel, Dominique no longer cares what anyone thinks or does. She lives her life for herself and no one else. She learns to love and create freely and passionately, and no longer cares whether the world is worthy of her expression. She has a new world now that is hers alone. Finally, it is the act of creating, loving, and living in which she finds happiness, rather than the results of these successes, no matter how good or bad the recognition may be. It no longer matters what might happen or what others think, because the happiness she finds cannot be taken away from her. She learns to be the change she wishes to see in her world. Her new world, that in which she sets the standards by which all will live in regards to any association with Dominique, is worthy of her beautiful mind and heart because it belongs to her and no one else, and is shared on her terms alone. That is, Dominique's terms as well as those with the same individualistic, objectivist and uncompromising ideals.

[edit] Main themes

[edit] Architectural theme

Rand dedicated The Fountainhead to her husband, Frank O'Connor, and to architecture. She chose architecture for the analogy it offered to her ideas, especially in the context of the ascent of Modern architecture. It provided a convenient vehicle to portray her views `” that the individual is supreme, and that selfishness is a virtue.

Throughout The Fountainhead, Rand's definitions of "selfishness" and "selflessness" differ from common usage. Rather than using "selfish" as a pejorative, she uses the term to mean remaining true to one's ideals against the influence of others. "Selflessness" contradicts Roark's concept of self.

Peter Keating and Howard Roark are character foils. Keating practices in the historical eclectic and neo-classic mold, even when the building's typology is a skyscraper. He follows and pays respect to old traditions. He accommodates the changes suggested by others, mirroring the eclectic directions, and willingness to adapt, current at the turn of the twentieth century. Roark searches for truth and honesty and expresses them in his work. He is uncompromising when changes are suggested, mirroring Modern architecture's trajectory from dissatisfaction with earlier design trends to emphasizing individual creativity. Roark's individuality eulogizes modern architects as uncompromising and heroic masters. A common, unfounded, speculation is that Roark was inspired by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright; a claim both Rand and Wright denied. Rand did, however, once commission Wright to design a summer home for her; it was never built. The most that may be suggested is that some of the descriptions of Roark's buildings resemble those of Wright: a notable example being the "Heller House" - the first of Roark's designs to be built - cantilevered over the edge of a cliff in a descriptive image reminiscent of Wright's famous Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.

[edit] Objectivism

Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, is woven into the text through its main characters. Rand writes in Atlas Shrugged: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." Roark embodies this philosophy in his quest for architectural integrity and maintaining his own design, despite the (clearly more lucrative) accepted mores of architecture.

For a more complete indication of the influence of the novel and its author, see the article, "Bibliography of work on Objectivism."

[edit] Literary significance and criticism

Lorine Pruette, a New York Times reviewer wrote that the book was "a hymn in praise of the individual... you will not be able to read this masterful book without thinking through some of the basic concepts of our times."[5]

Benjamin DeCasseres, a columnist for the New York Journal-American wrote of Roark as "an uncompromising individualist" and "one of the most inspiring characters in modern American literature."[5]

[edit] Library of Congress dispute

Leonard Peikoff inherited many of Rand's manuscripts. During her lifetime, Rand had apparently made a comment she would bequeath her manuscripts to the Library of Congress. She later had reservations. The Library of Congress requested the manuscripts, and demanded that Peikoff present them to the library. He considered his options, and after a heart attack in July 1991 he decided to turn over the manuscripts. He had his assistant box all of the manuscript pages except for two`”the first and last pages of The Fountainhead`”which he had framed. In their stead, he had the pages photocopied so that the manuscripts would be "complete." An appraiser went through the manuscripts and notified the Library of Congress about the replacement pages. The Library of Congress replied that copied pages were of no consequence.

Some years later, Peikoff held an interview in his home with a reporter from the Los Angeles Times, and when asked about the pages (which had been framed and hung on the wall of his office), Peikoff joked about having "stolen" them from the Library of Congress. This apparently went into the article, and not long after that the Library of Congress contacted Peikoff and demanded that he return U. S. government property. James H. Billington was the director of the Library of Congress at the time.

After consulting with his lawyer, Peikoff determined that there was not much he could do about his situation. While perhaps he had a right to keep the papers and even though they were legally his (his argument is that he had never donated them to the library, so they had never been property of the U. S. government), and even though he might win a lawsuit against the government, the process would be long and expensive. So he signed a capitulation agreement, but supplied the condition that the Library of Congress must come and retrieve the pages themselves. This retrieval was videotaped by a friend.[6]

[edit] In popular culture

[edit] Film adaptation
Main article: The Fountainhead (film)

The 1949 film is based on the book and stars Gary Cooper as Howard Roark, Patricia Neal as Dominique Francon, Raymond Massey as Gail Wynand, and Kent Smith as Peter Keating. The film was directed by King Vidor, with a screenplay by Ayn Rand.

[edit] Cultural references

Due to the controversy surrounding the book and its influence, The Fountainhead has been referenced many times in popular culture. The book often appears to suggest Objectivist-related thought or change within a character, such as with the character Janet in the 1992 motion picture Singles or the character Sawyer in the television series Lost.

Other examples of popular culture make plot-references more generally, such as when in the TV series Gilmore Girls, Rory calls Lorelai "the Howard Roark of Stars Hollow" for being ruthless in a competition,[7] or Rory tells Jess about her love of the book and Jess expresses awe that she read it when she was only 10[8].

In the film Dirty Dancing, self-serving waiter Robby Gould suggests Baby read The Fountainhead.

In the film "Cruel Intentions" a conversation between Sebastian and Annette contains the reference to the sexual encounter between Roark and his mistress, commenting on its romantic ideals and its aggressive paradigm.

In the book and the film adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novel A Scanner Darkly, the character Charles Freck chooses to place a copy of the novel near his dead body when committing suicide, in order to make a symbolic statement.

Often, The Fountainhead appears simply as a reference to the title or a character name, such as the song "The Fountainhead" by The Bluetones, or in the television series Desperate Housewives, when 'Howard Roark' appears as the name of the architect of a golf pro-shop.

The band Collective Soul took their name from a comment of Ellsworth Toohey. Ironically, the phrase 'collective soul' as used by Toohey was meant pejoratively by Rand, but the band chose to embrace the concept.

In one episode of Frasier, Frasier Crane recalls how at the age of 8 a bully snatched his copy of the book and threw it under a bus.

In the Simpsons episode 'A Streetcar Named Marge', Maggie is enrolled at the 'Ayn Rand School For Tots', and Ms. Sinclair the carer is seen reading a book called 'The Fountainhead Diet'.

Canadian actor Roark Critchlow (born 1963) was given this first name after Howard Roark - evidently a character admired by his parents.

In Batman: Cacophony by Kevin Smith, the Joker, known for his individuality, refers to the book sarcastically as a "knee slapper." Deadshot replies that it is one of his favorite books. In Fantastic 4: True Story, a miniseries in which the Fantastic 4 goes into a realm made up of fiction, there is a character called, "Fountainhead" (literally a head inside a fountain), who represents the personification of human creativity.

In the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower the main character's teacher and close friend gives him The Fountainhead to read.

The videogame Bioshock contains allusions to The Fountainhead. For example, a poster can be seen during gameplay for the business "Eve's Garden" contains the words "H. Roark presents" above its name. Further, the character "Andrew Ryan" is said to be a variation of "Ayn Rand".[citation needed]

Terry Goodkind's book Faith of the Fallen, book 6 in the Sword of Truth series, is a loose retelling of The Fountainhead in fantasy-genre form. The protagonist, Richard Rahl, plays the part of Howard Roark, except as a sculptor rather than an architect.[9]

In the 3 part comic book series Batman: Cacophony The Joker is seen reading The Fountainhead in the beginning of the first issue and the end of the third.

Susan Brownmiller, in her 1970s work on sexual assault Against Our Will, denounced the so-called "rape" scene, and Dominique's subsequent relationship with Roark, for allegedly promoting the idea that "no means yes" and that non-consensual sex occurs because the woman subconsciously agrees to it. (Rand said that "if it was rape, it was rape by engraved invitation.")

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fountainhead
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Offline clayman

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2009, 09:20:11 PM »
A family member attends the church of Ayn Rand.  I have no idea what drove him to such madness, though he did like burning ants with a magnifying glass when we were children. 

Offline laconas

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2009, 09:35:48 PM »
Quote
A family member attends the church of Ayn Rand.  I have no idea what drove him to such madness, though he did like burning ants with a magnifying glass when we were children.

I don't quite understand it either. Her writng's appear to be life changing though. I was just reading this little piece...

Quote
According to a 1991 survey by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club, Atlas Shrugged was second to The Bible as the book that made most difference in American readers' lives.[52] Modern Library's 1998 three-month online poll of the 100 best novels of the 20th century[53][54] found Atlas rated #1 although it was not included on the list chosen by the Modern Library panel of authors and scholars.[55] The list was formed on 217,520 votes cast.[56]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Shrugged
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Offline laconas

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2009, 09:51:37 PM »


Objectivism is a philosophy[1] developed by Ayn Rand in the 20th century that encompasses integrated positions on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics.[2]

Contents
[hide]

    * 1 Etymology
    * 2 Brief overview
    * 3 Objectivist Principles
          o 3.1 Metaphysics: objective reality
          o 3.2 Epistemology: reason
          o 3.3 Ethics: rational self-interest
          o 3.4 Politics: individual rights and capitalism
          o 3.5 Aesthetics: metaphysical value-judgements
    * 4 Intellectual impact
    * 5 Criticisms
    * 6 Monographs and essays
    * 7 References
    * 8 See also
    * 9 External links

[edit] Etymology

Objectivism derives its name from the idea that both knowledge and values are objective: neither intrinsic nor subjective. According to Rand, concepts and values are not intrinsic to external reality, nor are they created by the thoughts one has. Rather, valid concepts and values are, as she wrote, "determined by the nature of reality, but to be discovered by man's mind."[3]

Rand chose Objectivism as the name of her philosophy, saying her ideal term to label a philosophy based on the primacy of existence, Existentialism, had already been taken.[4] The word is capitalized to distinguish it from other philosophical positions to which the term "objectivism" has been applied.

[edit] Brief overview

    My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

    `”Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged 35th anniversary edition[5]

Ayn Rand characterized Objectivism as "a philosophy for living on earth," grounded in reality, and aimed at defining man's nature and the nature of the world in which he lives. Rand initially expressed these ideas in her novels The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, and other works. She further elaborated on them in The Objectivist Newsletter, The Objectivist, The Ayn Rand Letter, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, The Virtue of Selfishness, and other non-fiction books.[6]

Objectivism holds: that reality exists independent of consciousness; that individual persons are in contact with this reality through sensory perception; that human beings can gain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive and deductive logic; that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest; that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure laissez-faire capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform man's widest metaphysical ideas, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form`”a work of art`”that he can comprehend and to which he can respond emotionally.

[edit] Objectivist Principles

[edit] Metaphysics: objective reality

Rand's philosophy is based on three axioms: the Axiom of Existence, the Law of Identity, and the Axiom of Consciousness. Rand defined an axiom as "a statement that identifies the base of knowledge and of any further statement pertaining to that knowledge, a statement necessarily contained in all others whether any particular speaker chooses to identify it or not. An axiom is a proposition that defeats its opponents by the fact that they have to accept it and use it in the process of any attempt to deny it."[5] As Leonard Peikoff noted, being perceptually self-evident, Rand's argumentation "is not a proof that the axioms of existence, consciousness, and identity are true. It is proof that they are axioms, that they are at the base of knowledge and thus inescapable."[4]

Objectivism states that "Existence exists" (the Axiom of Existence) and "Existence is Identity." To be is to be "an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes."[5] That which has no attributes does not and cannot exist. Hence, the Law of Identity: a thing is what it is. Whereas "existence exists" pertains to existence itself (whether something exists or not), the law of identity pertains to the nature of an object as being necessarily distinct from other objects (whether something exists as this or that). As Rand wrote, "A leaf cannot be all red and green at the same time, it cannot freeze and burn at the same time. A is A."[5]

Rand held that when one is able to perceive something, then one's "Consciousness exists" (the Axiom of Consciousness), consciousness "being the faculty of perceiving that which exists."[4] Objectivism maintains that what exists does not exist because one thinks it exists; it simply exists, regardless of anyone's awareness, knowledge or opinion. For Rand, consciousness is an inherently relational phenomenon, as she puts it, "to be conscious is to be conscious of something," so that an objective reality independent of consciousness must exist first for consciousness to become possible, and there is no possibility of a consciousness that is conscious of nothing outside itself. Thus consciousness cannot be the only thing that exists. "It cannot be aware only of itself `” there is no 'itself' until it is aware of something."[7] Objectivism holds that the mind cannot create reality, but rather, it is a means of discovering reality.[8]

Objectivist philosophy regards the Law of Causality, which states that things act in accordance with their natures, as "the law of identity applied to action."[5] Rand rejected the popular notion that the causal link relates action to action. According to Rand, an "action" is not an entity, rather, it is entities that act, and every action is the action of an entity. The way entities interact is caused by the specific nature (or "identity") of those entities; if they were different there would be a different result.[4]

[edit] Epistemology: reason

The starting point of Objectivist epistemology is the principle, presented by Rand as a direct consequence of the metaphysical axiom that "Existence is Identity," that Knowledge is Identification. Objectivist epistemology[8] defines how one can translate perception, i.e., awareness acquired through the senses, into valid concepts that identify the facts of reality.

Objectivism rejects philosophical skepticism and states that only by the method of reason can man gain knowledge (identification of the facts of reality). Objectivism also rejects faith and "feeling" as means of attaining knowledge. She defined "reason" as "the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses."[9] Although Rand acknowledged the importance of emotion in humans, she maintained that emotion was a consequence of the conscious or subconscious ideas one already holds, not a means of achieving awareness of reality.

Rand held that there is no "causeless knowledge," and on this basis argued against any form of mysticism, which she defined as "the acceptance of allegations without evidence or proof, either apart from or against the evidence of one's senses and reason." She continues, "Mysticism is the claim to some non-sensory, non-rational, non-definable, non-identifiable means of knowledge, such as 'instinct,' 'intuition,' 'revelation,' or any form of 'just knowing.'"[10] According to Rand, to reach "knowledge" beyond what is given in sense-perception requires both volitional effort and adherence to a specific methodology of observation, concept-formation, and both inductive and deductive logic. A belief in "dragons" or "elves," however sincere, does not oblige reality to contain "dragons" or "elves," and a process of "proof" establishing the basis in reality of any claimed item of knowledge (if it cannot be directly observed) is a prerequisite to establising its truth.[11]

On similar grounds, Rand rejected the arguments traditionally made by epistemological skeptics who argue against the possibility of knowledge "undistorted" by the form or the means of perception. According to Rand, like anything else, consciousness`”any consciousness`”possesses a specific identity and operates by a specific method. Rather than disqualifying an item of knowledge, awareness by a specific process and in a specific form is inherent in objective knowledge.

        the attack on man's consciousness and particularly on his conceptual faculty has rested on the unchallenged premise that any knowledge acquired by a process of consciousness is necessarily subjective and cannot correspond to the facts of reality, since it is "processed knowledge. . . .[But] All knowledge is processed knowledge--whether on the sensory, perceptual or conceptual level. An "unprocessed" knowledge would be a knowledge acquired without means of cognition.[12]

Kant's arguments to the contrary, according to Rand, amount to saying: "man is limited to a consciousness of a specific nature, which perceives by specific means and no others; therefore, his consciousness is not valid; man is blind because he has eyes`“`“deaf because he has ears`“`“deluded because he has a mind`“`“and the things he perceives do not exist because he perceives them."[13]

For Rand, consciousness, like anything that exists, must possess identity, and its operation requires a causal means of adhering to reality, such as logic. Unlike logic, mystical revelation, Tarot Cards, or any other equivalent of a Ouija board, simply bypass the requirement of demonstrating how it connects its results to reality, and such "methods," according to Rand are not a "short-cut" to knowledge at all, but a "short-circuit" destroying knowledge.[14] By the same token, that consciousness has an identity, far from disqualifying its product, only grounds it in reality, and the skeptics' claim would invalidate the operation of any consciousness, whatever the means and form it utilized.

To defend and explain her position on reason, she developed a theory of sense-perception that distinguishes between the form and the object of perception, holding that the form in which an organism perceives is determined by its physiological means of perception but that in whatever form it perceives, what it perceives`”the object of its perception`”is reality. She rejected the Kantian dichotomy between "things as we perceive them" and "things as they are in themselves." The validity of the senses, she held, is axiomatic; sense-perception, being physiologically determined, cannot make "mistakes" or err in responding to the facts of reality. Apparent errors, such as in "optical illusions", she regarded as errors in the conceptual identification of what is seen, not in the seeing itself. Sense data is still valid even though it may be misinterpreted by the one experiencing it.

Simple sensations are not the basis of man's knowledge. Sensations are integrated as perceptions, and it is only at the level of perceptions that the foundation of epistemology lies. Perception, she argued, is the automatic result of a causal process, infallible, and provide the basis for the non-automatic, fallible processes of conceptual interpretation and inference that is the sphere of reason.[15]

Rand was neither a classical empiricist (like Hume or the logical positivists) nor a classical rationalist (like Plato, Descartes, or Hegel). She disagreed with the empiricists mainly in that she considered perception to be direct awareness of entities in reality, not awareness of internal images that might "represent" things in reality ("representationalism"). Further, she held that concepts are objective, not subjective, and that rational principles can be formulated to guide thought and action--rather than man's ken being limited to the "here and now."

Perhaps Ayn Rand's most distinctive and original contribution in epistemology is her theory of concept-formation, presented in her Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. She observed fundamental links between concepts and mathematics and held that concepts are properly formed by a process of measurement omission. Rand uses "measurement" here in the broad sense of comparing any quantitative or qualitative relationship, even such things as the intensity of love, not just physical measurements such as mass, time, or distance.

        According to Objectivism, concepts 'represent classifications of observed existents according to their relationships to other observed existents.' To form a concept, one mentally isolates a group of concretes (of distinct perceptual units), on the basis of observed similarities which distinguish them from all other known concretes (similarity is 'the relationship between two or more existents which possess the same characteristic(s), but in different measure or degree'); then, by a process of omitting the particular measurements of these concretes, one integrates them into a single new mental unit: the concept, which subsumes all concretes of this kind (a potentially unlimited number). The integration is completed and retained by the selection of a perceptual symbol (a word) to designate it. 'A concept is a mental integration of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted.'"[16]

"...the term 'measurements omitted' does not mean, in this context, that measurements are regarded as non-existent; it means that measurements exist, but are not specified. That measurements must exist is an essential part of the process. The principle is: the relevant measurements must exist in some quantity, but may exist in any quantity."[17]

Rand did not consider the analytic-synthetic distinction to have merit. She similarly denied the existence of a priori knowledge.[18] Rand also considered her ideas distinct from foundationalism, naive realism, or representationalism (i.e., an indirect realist who believes in a "veil of perception") like Descartes or John Locke.

A strong advocate of Aristotelian logic, she titled the three parts of Atlas Shrugged with the names of three axioms used in Aristotelian logic: "A is A," "Non-Contradiction," and "Either/Or", three Laws of Thought known to the Ancient Greeks. The first is the law of identity, the second is the law of non-contradiction and the third is the law of excluded middle.[19] In regard to inductive logic, she held that her theory of concepts would provide the basis for a new approach to validating inductive generalization, and Leonard Peikoff has attempted this development.[20]

Objectivist epistemology, like most other philosophical branches of Objectivism, was first presented by Rand in Atlas Shrugged.[5] It is more fully developed in Rand's 1967 Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.[8] Rand considered her epistemology and its basis in reason so central to her philosophy that she remarked, "I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows."

[edit] Ethics: rational self-interest
   It has been suggested that Objectivist ethics be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)

Rand's ethical egoism, her advocacy of "rational selfishness," is perhaps her most well-known position. In The Virtue of Selfishness she gave an original validation of her moral code, claiming to have bridged the infamous gap between "Is" and "Ought"`”or between facts and values. Beginning by asking "What are values?" and "Why does man need them?", she argues that the concept of "value" implies an answer to the questions, "Of value to whom and for what?" Thus, the existence of values depends upon the existence of an alternative in the face of which a being must act. "Where no alternatives exist, no goals and no values are possible."[21]

According to Rand, there is only one type of being which acts in the face of an alternative: living organisms. She writes: "there is only one fundamental alternative in the universe: existence or non-existence`”and it pertains to a single class of entities: to living organisms. The existence of inanimate matter is unconditional, the existence of life is not: it depends on a specific course of action... It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death..." Objectivism defines life as the process of self-generated self-sustaining activity. All living organisms, Rand held, act to gain values`”i.e., the items their survival requires`“`“and every living organism has specific requirements for its survival determined by its very nature, factually determined values. The survival of the organism is the ultimate value to which all of the organism's activities are aimed, the end served by all of its lesser values, and the objective standard by which its well-being may be determined. It is the nature of the organism itself which determines what is "good for" it or "bad for it." In Rand's terms: "It is only the concept of 'Life' that makes the concept of 'Value' possible," and, "[t]he fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do."[22]

Integrating with this is Rand's view that the primary locus of man's free will is in the choice: to think or not to think. "Thinking is not an automatic function. In any hour and issue of his life, man is free to think or to evade that effort. Thinking requires a state of full, focused awareness. The act of focusing one's consciousness is volitional. Man can focus his mind to a full, active, purposefully directed awareness of reality`”or he can unfocus it and let himself drift in a semiconscious daze, merely reacting to any chance stimulus of the immediate moment, at the mercy of his undirected sensory-perceptual mechanism and of any random, associational connections it might happen to make."[23] According to Rand, therefore, possessing free will, human beings must choose their values: one does not automatically hold his own life as his ultimate value. Whether in fact a person's actions promote and fulfill his own life or not is a question of fact, as it is with all other organisms, but whether a person will act in order to promote his well-being is up to him, not hard-wired into his physiology. "Man has the power to act as his own destroyer`”and that is the way he has acted through most of his history."[24]

As with any other organism, human survival cannot be achieved randomly. The requirements of man's life first must be discovered and then consciously adhered to by means of principles. This is why human beings require a science of ethics. The purpose of a moral code, Rand held, is to provide the principles by reference to which man can achieve the values his survival requires.[25] Rand defined "ethics" as "a code of values to guide man's choices and actions`”the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life."

Since reason is man's means of knowledge, it is also his greatest value, and its exercise his greatest virtue. "Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive he must act and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch`“`“or build a cyclotron`“`“without a knowledge of his aim and the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think."[26]

For Rand, all of the principal virtues are applications of the role of reason as man's basic tool of survival: rationality, honesty, justice, independence, integrity, productiveness, and pride`”each of which she explains in some detail in "The Objectivist Ethics."[27]

For man, it is, specifically, the conceptual faculty which is his tool for survival, according to Rand. An organism that possesses a faculty of sensation relies on its pleasure-pain mechanism; an animal that operates at the level of perception can use its perceptions to instinctively go through its essentially cyclic life; but a human being must rely on an integrated whole of his perceptual (rooted in sensations) and conceptual faculties.

Ayn Rand also claimed that in humans, who are conscious organisms, the motivation to pursue life is experienced as the pursuit of a conscious state`”the pursuit of happiness. Indeed, in her one-sentence summary of Objectivism, Ayn Rand condensed her ethics into the statement that man properly lives "with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life." According to Objectivist epistemology states of mind, such as happiness, are not primary; they are the consequence of specific facts of existence. Therefore man needs an objective, principled standard, grounded in the facts of reality, to guide him in the pursuit of this purpose. Rand regarded happiness as a biological faculty evolved from the pleasure-pain mechanism of pre-human animals. This faculty functions as an instrument providing a continuous measurement of how successful one is at meeting the challenge of life. As she wrote in The Virtue of Selfishness (23, pb 27)

    Just as the pleasure-pain mechanism of man's body is an automatic indicator of his body's welfare or injury, a barometer of its basic alternative, life or death`”so the emotional mechanism of man's consciousness is geared to perform the same function, as a barometer that registers the same alternative by means of two basic emotions: joy or suffering.

Although Rand sometimes referred to the Objectivist ethics in particular as "selfishness," as reflected in the title of her primary book on ethics, The Virtue of Selfishness, she did not use that term with the negative connotations that it usually has, but to refer to a form of rational egoism.:
`    To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason, Purpose, Self-esteem.    `

Unlike many other philosophers, Ayn Rand broadened the scope of ethics to include the derivation of principles needed in all contexts, whether one is alone or with others. She argued against the claim "that morality is social and that man would need no morality on a desert island`”it is on a desert island that he would need it most."[28] In her novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, she also emphasizes the central importance of productive work, romantic love and art to human happiness, and dramatizes the ethical character of their pursuit.

The morality of Objectivism is based on the observation that one's own choices and actions are instrumental in maintaining and enhancing one's life, and therefore one's happiness. Rand wrote:

    "Man has been called a rational being, but rationality is a matter of choice `” and the alternative his nature offers him is: rational being or suicidal animal. Man has to be man `” by choice; he has to hold his life as a value `” by choice; he has to learn to sustain it `” by choice; he has to discover the values it requires and practice his virtues `” by choice.
    "A code of values accepted by choice is a code of morality."[5]

There is a difference, therefore, between rational self-interest as pursuit of one's own life and happiness in reality, and what Ayn Rand called "selfishness without a self"`”a range-of-the-moment pseudo-"selfish" whim-worship or "hedonism." A whim-worshipper or "hedonist," according to Rand, is not motivated by a desire to live his own human life, but by a wish to live on a sub-human level. Instead of using "that which promotes my (human) life" as his standard of value, he mistakes "that which I (mindlessly happen to) value" for a standard of value, in contradiction of the fact that, existentially, he is a human and therefore rational organism. The "I value" in whim-worship or hedonism can be replaced with "we value," "he values," "they value," or "God values," and still it would remain dissociated from reality. Rand repudiated the equation of rational selfishness with hedonistic or whim-worshipping "selfishness-without-a-self." She held that the former is good, and the latter evil, and that there is a fundamental difference between them.[29] A corollary to Rand's endorsement of self-interest is her rejection of the ethical doctrine of altruism`”which she defined in the sense of August Comte's altruism (he coined the term), as a moral obligation to live for the sake of others.

Rand defined a value as "that which one acts to gain and/or keep." The rational individual's choice of values to pursue is guided by his need, if he chooses to live, to act so as to maintain and promote his own life. Therefore, Rand did not hold that values proper to human life are "intrinsic" in the sense of being independent of one's choices, or that there are values that an individual must pursue by command or imperative ("reason accepts no commandments"). Neither did Rand consider proper values "subjective," to be pursued just because one has chosen, perhaps arbitrarily, to pursue them. Rather, Rand held that valid values are "objective," in the sense of being identifiable as serving to preserve and enhance one's life, writing, that "the 'good' is an aspect of reality in relation to man." Some values are specific to the nature of each individual, but there are also universal human values, including the preservation of one's own individual rights, which Rand defined as "conditions of existence required by man's nature for his proper survival."[5]

Objectivism holds that morality is a "code of values accepted by choice." According to Leonard Peikoff, Rand held that "man needs [morality] for one reason only: he needs it in order to survive. Moral laws, in this view, are principles that define how to nourish and sustain human life; they are no more than this and no less."[4] Objectivism does not claim that there is a moral requirement to choose to value one's life. As Allan Gotthelf points out, for Rand, "Morality rests on a fundamental, pre-moral choice:"[30] the moral agent's choice to live rather than die, so that the moral "ought" is always contextual and agent-relative. To be moral is to choose that which promotes one's life in one's actual context. There are no "categorical imperatives" (as in Kantianism) that an individual would be obliged to carry out regardless of consequences for his life.

Rand observes:

"Nothing is given to man on earth except a potential and the material on which to actualize it. The potential is a superlative machine: his consciousness; but it is a machine without a spark plug, a machine of which his will must be the spark plug, the self-starter and the driver; he has to discover how to use it and he has to keep it in constant action. The material is the whole of the universe, with no limits set to the knowledge he can acquire and to the enjoyment of life he can achieve. But everything he needs or desires has to be learned, discovered or produced by him`“`“by his own choice; by his own effort; by his own mind."[31]

[edit] Politics: individual rights and capitalism
Individualism
Individualist topics[show]
Individualism · Individual rights · Individual sovereignty · Liberalism · Individualist anarchism
Existentialism · Capitalism
Libertarianism · Liberty · Autonomy · Self-interest · Civil liberties · Private property  · DIY · Workers' self-management · Objectivism  · Methodological individualism · Ethical egoism
Individualist thinkers[show]
Zeno · Lao Tzu · Hobbes · Aristotle · Locke · Tucker · Jefferson · Warren · Emerson · Stirner · Mill · Kierkegaard · Thoreau · Woodworth · Nietzsche · Spooner · LaVey · Smith · Kant · Hayek · Rand · Spencer
Contrast[show]
Collectivism · Communitarianism · Communism · Socialism  · Fascism · Corporatism  · Public property  · Social anarchism · Group rights · Ethical altruism
v `¢ d `¢ e

Objectivist politics begins with ethics: the question of if, and if so why, a rational agent needs a set of principles for living his life. The proper answer to ethics tells a rational individual how to preserve his individual rights while interacting with, benefiting from cooperation with, and trading with other individuals in society.[5] That is, it determines the principles which constitute a moral social system.[32]

Rand's defense of individual liberty integrates elements from her entire philosophy. Since reason is the competent but sole means of human knowledge, it is therefore humanity's most fundamental means of survival. Also, thus, the effort of thinking and the scrupulous use of reason are the most basic virtue of an ethics governed by the requirements of human life. The threat of coercion, however, neutralizes the practical effect of an individual's reason, and whether the force originates from the state or from a criminal, the coerced person must act as required, or, at least, direct his thought to escape. According to Rand, "man's mind will not function at the point of a gun."[33] To put this conversely: freedom "works" because it liberates human reason. Just as freedom of expression is a prerequisite for a vibrant culture, and the development of science and art, so a free market generates new and ever better products and services, as the range of consumer goods and technological innovations in capitalist societies demonstrates, according to Rand. Thus, she argued for the "separation of state and economics in the same way and for the same reasons" as she argued for "the separation of state and church."[34]

Reason being a capacity of the individual, creative innovation, by its nature, requires the individual to have the freedom to do things differently, to disagree, to buck the trend or consensus, if necessary. According to Rand, therefore, the only type of organized human behavior consistent with the operation of reason is one of voluntary cooperation. Persuasion is the method of reason, a faculty which demands reality be the ultimate arbiter of disputes among men. By its nature, the overtly irrational cannot rely on the use of persuasion, cannot permit the facts to decide differences, and must ultimately resort to force in order to prevail as means of coordinating human behavior. Thus, Rand saw reason and freedom as correlates`“`“just as she saw mysticism and force as correlates.[35]

Since reason is "man's basic tool of survival," Rand held that an individual has a natural moral right to act as the judgment of his or her own mind directs and to keep the product of this effort. In Rand's view, this requires that the initiation of physical force and the acquisition of property by fraud be banned. She agreed with America's Founding Fathers that the sole legitimate function of government is the protection of individual rights, including property rights. The purpose of objective criminal and civil law is to protect the individual from the coercion of others, while the purpose of a constitution and Bill of Rights is to protect the individual from the coercion of the state (historically the greatest violator of individual rights in Rand's estimation). Government may use force, that is its essence, but to do so legitimately it must never act as the aggressor`“`“it may use force only in response to an initiation of force, e.g. theft, murder, foreign aggression. Rand did not believe that a free society, one in which all interaction was thus rendered voluntary, would make anyone rational`“`“rationality cannot be compelled and is an exclusive capacity of the individual`“`“but freedom does allow those who are rational and productive to achieve at their highest capacity.[36]

As a result, Objectivism holds that the individual possesses inalienable rights`”the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of his own happiness.[37] "Rights are moral principles defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context" [29]. Government is the institution with a monopoly on the use of physical force in a given geographical area, so the issue is whether that force is to be used to protect or to violate individual rights`”i.e., whether the government uses force only in retaliation or whether it initiates force against innocent citizens. Under laissez-faire Capitalism, the government is restricted to using retaliatory force, to protect individual rights`”which means the only proper functions of the government are "the police, to protect men from criminals; the military forces, to protect men from foreign invaders; and the law courts, to protect men's property and contracts from breach by force or fraud, and to settle disputes among men according to objectively defined laws."[38]

Objectivism holds that the rights of other human beings are not of direct moral import to the agent who respects them; they acquire their moral purchase through an intermediate step. An Objectivist respects the rights of other human beings out of the recognition of the value to himself or herself of living in a world in which the freedom of action of other rational (or potentially rational) human beings is respected. One's respect for the rights of others is founded on the objective value, to oneself, of other persons as actual or potential partners in cooperation and trade. According to Rand, the enormous benefits of vastly increased knowledge and wealth are possible in an organized society, but only one in which rights are protected.[39]

Objectivism holds that the only social system which fully recognizes individual rights is Capitalism[40]`”as Rand understood it:

    When I say "capitalism", I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism...[29]

Rand includes Socialism, Fascism, Communism, Nazism,[41] and the Welfare State, as systems under which individual rights, including private property rights, are not legally protected. "To deny property rights means to turn men into property owned by the state. Whoever claims the 'right' to 'redistribute' the wealth produced by others is claiming the 'right' to treat human beings as chattel."[42]

As Rand was an advocate of free market capitalism, she rejected many "conservative" positions on philosophical grounds. Rand strongly advocated legal abortion[43]. She also opposed involuntary military conscription[44], the "draft," and she opposed any form of censorship, including legal restrictions on pornography.[45] Rand opposed racism, and any legal application of racism, and she considered affirmative action to be an example of legal racism.[46]

Rand also strongly opposed the nascent Environmentlist Movement of the 1960s as being hostile to technology and, therefore, to humanity itself`“`“and thus leading America towards "a new Dark Age."[47]

Far from regarding capitalism as a dog-eat-dog pattern of social organization, Objectivism regards it as a beneficent system in which the innovations of the most creative benefit everyone else in the society (although that is not its justification). Indeed, Objectivism values creative achievement itself and regards capitalism as the only kind of society in which it can flourish.[48]

[edit] Aesthetics: metaphysical value-judgements
See also: Romantic realism

The Objectivist theory of art flows from its epistemology, by way of "psycho-epistemology" (Rand's term for an individual's characteristic mode of functioning in acquiring knowledge). Art, according to Objectivism, serves a human cognitive need: it allows human beings to grasp concepts as though they were percepts. Objectivism defines "art" as a "selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments"`”that is, according to what the artist believes to be ultimately true and important about the nature of reality and humanity. In this respect Objectivism regards art as a way of presenting abstractions concretely, in perceptual form.

The human need for art, on this view, stems from the need for cognitive economy. A concept is already a sort of mental shorthand standing for a large number of concretes, allowing a human being to think indirectly or implicitly of many more such concretes than can be held explicitly in mind. But a human being cannot hold indefinitely many concepts explicitly in mind either`”and yet, on the Objectivist view, needs a comprehensive conceptual framework in order to provide guidance in life. Art offers a way out of this dilemma by providing a perceptual, easily grasped means of communicating and thinking about a wide range of abstractions, including one's metaphysical value-judgments. Objectivism regards art as an effective way to communicate a moral or ethical ideal.

Objectivism does not, however, regard art as propagandistic: even though art involves moral values and ideals, its purpose is not to educate, only to show or project. Moreover, art need not be, and usually is not, the outcome of a full-blown, explicit philosophy. Usually it stems from an artist's sense of life (which is preconceptual and largely emotional).

Rand held that Romanticism was the highest school of literary art, noting that Romanticism was "based on the recognition of the principle that man possesses the faculty of volition," absent which, Rand believed, literature is robbed of dramatic power.

    What the Romanticists brought to art was the primacy of values`¦ Values are the source of emotions: a great deal of emotional intensity was projected in the work of the Romanticists and in the reactions of their audiences, as well as a great deal of color, imagination, originality, excitement, and all the other consequences of a value-oriented view of life.[49]

The term "romanticism", however, is often affiliated with emotionalism, to which Objectivism is completely opposed. Historically, many romantic artists were philosophically subjectivist. Most Objectivists who are also artists subscribe to what they call romantic realism, which is how Ayn Rand labeled her own work.[50]

[edit] Intellectual impact
Main article: Objectivist movement
The Fountainhead Cafe, a coffee shop in New York City inspired by Objectivism. The sign reads "Eat Objectively, Live Rich".

According to Rick Karlin, academic philosophers have generally dismissed Rand's ideas and have marginalized her philosophy.[51] Online U.S. News and World Report columnist Sara Dabney Tisdale called Atlas Shrugged "sophomoric," "preachy," and "unoriginal."[52] Because of Rand's criticism of contemporary intellectuals,[53] Objectivism has been called "fiercely anti-academic."[54] David Sidorsky, a professor of moral and political philosophy at Columbia University, says Rand's work is "outside the mainstream" and is more of an ideological movement than a well-grounded philosophy.[55]

In the essay "On the Randian Argument" by Harvard University philosopher Robert Nozick, which appears in his collection, Socratic Puzzles (1997).[56] Nozick is sympathetic to Rand's political conclusions, but does not think her arguments justify them. In particular, his essay criticizes her foundational argument in ethics, stating that to make her argument - that one's own life is, for each individual, the ultimate value - sound, one needs to explain why someone could not rationally prefer dying and thus having no values. Thus, he argues, her attempt to defend the morality of selfishness is essentially an instance of begging the question. Nozick also argues that Rand's solution to David Hume's famous is-ought problem is unsatisfactory (as do others[57][58]). Professors Douglas Rasumussen and Douglas Den Uyl contend Nozick's article itself had misstated Rand's case.[59]

In recent years Rand's works are more likely to be encountered in the classroom than in decades past.[54] The Ayn Rand Society, dedicated to fostering the scholarly study of Objectivism, is affiliated with the American Philosophical Association's Eastern Division.[60] Since 1999, several monographs were published and a refereed Journal of Ayn Rand Studies began.[61] In 2006 the University of Pittsburgh held a conference focusing on Objectivism.[62] In addition, two Objectivist philosophers (Tara Smith and James Lennox) hold tenured positions at two of the fifteen leading American philosophy departments.[63] Objectivist programs and fellowships have been supported at the University of Pittsburgh[64] University of Texas at Austin[65] and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[66]

Rand is not found in the comprehensive academic reference texts The Oxford Companion to Philosophy or The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. A lengthy article on Rand appears in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy;[67] she has an entry in the Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers and one forthcoming in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,[68] [69] as well as a brief entry in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy which features the following passage:

    The influence of Rand`s ideas was strongest among college students in the USA but attracted little attention from academic philosophers. `¦ Rand`s political theory is of little interest. Its unremitting hostility towards the state and taxation sits inconsistently with a rejection of anarchism, and her attempts to resolve the difficulty are ill-thought out and unsystematic.

Noted Aristotle scholar Allan Gotthelf (chairman of the Ayn Rand Society)[70] responded unfavorably to this entry and came to her defense.[71] He and other scholars have argued for more academic study of Objectivism, viewing Rand's philosophy as a unique and intellectually interesting defense of classical liberalism that is worth debating.[72]

[edit] Criticisms

Critics such as William F. Buckley, Jr. have called her philosophy "stillborn", while Ayn Rand's books remain popular `“ selling over 400,000 copies per year.[73]

Raymond Boisvert, a philosophy professor at Siena College, has opined that Rand's theories are out of sync with the complex interrelationships and interconnected systems of modern life.[52] Seemingly the opposite position is argued by Chris Matthew Sciabarra in Ayn Rand; the Russian Radical, which attempts to show that Rand eschewed dualistic oversimplification and embraced multi-dimensional analyses.[74]

Psychologists Albert Ellis and Nathaniel Branden have argued that adherence to Objectivism can result in hazardous psychological effects.[75][76] Following Rand's expulsion of him from her circle, Branden accused Rand and her followers of "destructive moralism," something he reports having engaged in himself when he was associated with Rand, but which he now claims "subtly encourages repression, self-alienation, and guilt."[76] Since the publication of Rand's private journal entries regarding Branden, it has been shown that Rand herself had been warning Branden against such "moralism," "repression," "self-alienation" and "guilt," in very similar language to that now used by Branden.[77]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_(Ayn_Rand)
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Offline FrankDialogue

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2009, 10:03:22 PM »
Why are you doing this?...Are you trying to attract Jennifer Johnson back to the Forum?  ???  :o  ::)  :'(

Offline Sue

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2009, 10:03:32 PM »
Neat cover! I'll read it in the morning.... thanks.

"At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to state this or that or the other, but it is "not done".
...Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with.

Offline laconas

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2009, 10:13:10 PM »
Is Jenny a Randian?

No wonder I sometimes scratch my head after reading something she posted.
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Offline laconas

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2009, 10:19:05 PM »
Quote
Neat cover! I'll read it in the morning.... thanks.

In the movie the 3rd Man Harley has metting with a creepy Austrian guy in the park to find out about Harry. At the end of the meeting as Harley is leaving the Austrian, who's holding a copy of Harley's book, says, "such a good book and a very lovely cover." :)
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Offline FrankDialogue

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2009, 10:30:28 PM »
Is Jenny a Randian?

No wonder I sometimes scratch my head after reading something she posted.

She is an 'objectivist', self described...

Offline OldTimes

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2009, 03:45:43 AM »
Quote
Neat cover!

The cover was the first thing I noticed on this thread - with the stretched-out distorted crooked star.
True satanists like to announce themselves up-front.

As for me this is another one of those cases where I see nothing wrong with the logic, and don't really disapprove of the Objectivist philosophy, but nevertheless strongly distrust it.  It DOES promote greed and a sort of money-above-all-else philosophy to life (you worship one God or the other).

We know from the Protocols there's a key strategy to give 'isms' known to be false to the goyim.

Offline wag

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2009, 06:37:18 AM »
Quote
especially for the people belonging to the now-stigmatized middle class.

Just imagine what it would be like for a jewish sweat shop owner and his family to have their business taken away, and have to work a regular middle class job.  That was the part of the revolution that did not go as planned.  But no jewish grand plan in history has gone perfectly.  Even with the US take-over, 9-11, the "financial crisis", etc., you have messes like Iraq, Madoff, and uncontrollable Russia and China, etc.  Books are being written on this stuff too.

But the plot reads like a typical hollywood movie.  Cosmopolitan, academic, boring, ...nothing earthy, folky, with any spiritual dimensions or power.  It's like the antithesis of a Wagner opera.   And no mention of children.  Shouldn't children be a primary concern in any revolution?
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Offline mallard

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2009, 06:43:43 AM »
From book review piece:

"Having no true genius, Toohey's mission is to destroy excellence and promote altruism as the ultimate social ideal. This is put forward in one of his most memorable quotes: "Don`t set out to raze all shrines`”you`ll frighten men. Enshrine mediocrity, and the shrines are razed."

These days, 'shrines' are mostly going defunct first, only razed based on property sale value vs 'developers' of less than mediocre new ventures.

 

Ritualism, pretend loyalty to real spitiual heath, weakness and, most of all, indoctrination all suck according to any level-headed Unitarian, anyways.

don't eat yellow snow

Offline wag

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2009, 07:01:15 AM »
The Fountainhead sounds like a real humdinger.  Maybe it was the prototype for the modern TV soap opera.  I'm not sure these books are written with any other underlying theme than to distract us from what really matters.  But with the occasional dark seed,  "Having no true genius, Toohey's mission is to destroy excellence and promote altruism as the ultimate social ideal."  Would I have to read the whole book closely a few times to believe that?
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Offline wag

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2009, 07:03:19 AM »
If a book changes just one jew's life, that's a story, maybe even a movie.  If it changes the lives of many jews, it's a bible.
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Offline wag

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2009, 07:10:56 AM »
With how the words are oriented, it's actually a devil star, but rotated to fit the cover.  How could this not be a well known thing about it?
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Offline laconas

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2009, 07:17:40 AM »
Quote
Just imagine what it would be like for a jewish sweat shop owner and his family to have their business taken away, and have to work a regular middle class job.  That was the part of the revolution that did not go as planned.  But no jewish grand plan in history has gone perfectly.  Even with the US take-over, 9-11, the "financial crisis", etc., you have messes like Iraq, Madoff, and uncontrollable Russia and China, etc.  Books are being written on this stuff too.

But the plot reads like a typical hollywood movie.  Cosmopolitan, academic, boring, ...nothing earthy, folky, with any spiritual dimensions or power.  It's like the antithesis of a Wagner opera.   And no mention of children.  Shouldn't children be a primary concern in any revolution?

At the time she wrote We The Living, the 30's, she was working in Hollywood as a screenwriter I believe. Besides J-ws from Russia, Hollywood at the time was full of emigres from Germany.
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Offline OldTimes

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Re: The Ayn Rand Thread
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2009, 07:33:53 AM »
Quote
With how the words are oriented, it's actually a devil star, but rotated to fit the cover.  How could this not be a well known thing about it?

The fact that it's stretched/distorted is important.  Like the middle medal of honor here (and others):