Commencing a reading of Ayn Rand

I find it intriguing to read about Ayn Rand’s life and times and the people who surrounded her. I enjoyed the youtube clips of her movie “The Passion of Ayn Rand” and I think the actress closely resembles Ayn Rand. She led an amazing life and her influence to this very day is so great. In face each new generation of young people has millions who “rediscover” Ayn Rand. When I was age 19 in college, I remember my girl fiend mentioning now much she liked The Fountainhead and her eyes were glowing with admiration. I had not heard of it and when I showed no interest she dropped the subject. But now as I look back I realize that she was deeply affected by that novel and I was just too self-absorbed at the time to realize or inquire further.

As I begin to read Ayn Rand (and about Ayn Rand) I muse to myself that I am perhaps too old and send in my ways to become an Objectivist. And of course one of my motives for beginning this study is that an old frined (Fenton) and a new friend (Dhan) are admirers of Rand. Then I wondered how it can be that someone who is a committed Objectivist might come to like or befriend someone who may never be capable of being an Objectivist (i.e. me) but someone who can respect Rand’s work and her life and enjoy reading about the entire Objectivist history and debate. So I suppose that is a question for everyone who feels a confirmed objectivist, namely, can you like or befriend someone who respects and understands your philosophy even if they are not themselves capable of claiming it as their own. I have met many religious people of various religions (Christian and non-Christian) who deep in their hearts can only truly become close to those who deeply share their convictions. On a different note, when I think about the survival necessity of “selfishness” as it is described in many species in nature I see the wisdom of survival of the fittest. I see that in the business world one must be tough and committed and drive out the competition whenever possible if the business is to grow (I mean one cannot be self-sacrificing.) And of course during war on a battlefield one must either kill or be killed and there is no room for compassion or self-sacrifice unless one is suicidal.

I must make a terrible confession but I think a very necessary one. As I read the opening pages of Atlas Shrugged I realize that the character which best describes me is the “bum” who begs for a dime. My entire life has been an economic failure although I attempted various careers at various times and had some measure of success although not enough success to generate and retain wealth and the resulting security. I have realized this about myself for several years now. I did not need to read Ayn Rand to come to such a realization. But obviously there are those of us in society, perhaps the majority, who are the “bums” of objectivism and become parasitically dependent upon society or others generosity. So what might are we to say regarding this issue. 1.) Is it not true or likely that the John Galt’s will be in the minority and the “bums” will be in the majority. and… 2.) If we are unable to be John Galts and come to recognize our second class status, then in what sense can we participate in Objectivist philosophy except to the extent that we recognize our inferiority and admire the John Galts of the world, the entrepreneurs, the creators of wealth, and willingly serve them in whatever humble capacity and do not despise them or rebel against them or seek to overthrow them by some violent revolution.

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