Friday, August 17, 2012

Who is [Ayn Rand]?

1st in a series of “Who is … ?” posts in exploration of:
1) the “Who is John Galt?” question posed in Ayn’s 1957 novel, Atlas Shrugged; and
2) the Paul Ryan/Rand mysteries.
So to the question: “Who is [Ayn Rand]?”

□ a real, historical figure (1905-1982) who named her subjectivist theories, Objectivism?
□ a passionate thinker/philosopher who spent too much time creating imaginary achievers and not enough time observing/studying REAL living and historical ones?[1]
□ a Russian émigré whose Me-Mine philosophy[2] nurtured a more rapid decline in America values than was ever dreamt possible by socialists, communists/Cold Warriors, and all other anti-s lumped together?
□ an atheist[3] who scorned the concept of altruism[4]—and pronounced Her many contraries as better than GOOD, yea even virtuous?
□ an explicator of many real problems—worsened by “more-of-the-(self)-same” solutions?
□ a visionary of class conflict[5] between achievers/producers and most everyone else?
□ the god-mother (pardon the expression) of self-justification, self-deception, & rationalization?
□ a creator who did not believe in a Creator, but who claimed: “I trust that no one will tell me that men such as I write about don’t exist. That this book [Atlas Shrugged] has been written—and published—is my proof that they do.”[6] [WOW! or perhaps, Woe, Woe, Woe?]
□ an incurable idealist blinded to reality by the heroic imaginations of her heart?[7]
□ another[8] in a long line of gifted “Aristotles”— basing a “cosmic” theory on false beliefs/assumptions?
□ a matriarch-monarch (of a collective) who despised collectives?
□ a shape-shifter as between reality lived and philosophy preached; and an eye-shifter as in the Mike Wallace interview?[9]
□ a presenter of ½ and ¾ truths alleged to be whole?
□ a clear and present danger to economic, moral, and social verities?
□ an obsessive user of similes and metaphors?[10]
□ an inadvertent prophetess by marking her adored $ symbol on a (cancer-causing) cigarette butt?
□ a novelist, specializing in fiction and philosophical fantasy?

[1] —in contravention of her philosophic hero’s (Aristotle’s) call to knowledge through empirical observation and experience?
[2] (recycled from more ancient times?) An (inadvertent?) inside job?!
[3] (déjà vu, as in “Religion is ... the opium of the people”?)
[4] (including almost every teaching/example of spiritual leaders)
[5] (déjà vu, Marx?)
[6] From the 35th Anniversary edition of Atlas Shrugged, a Plume Book, p. 1171
[7] (déjà vu, here too?)
[8] See her romantic (unhistorical) view of industrialists operating without restraints in the 1959 interview with Mike Wallace circa 15:00 minutes at ; then see footnote 1 above
[9] See the link at footnote 8
[10] Mark Twain is reported to have said that if the phrase “And it came to pass” had been cut from the Mormon’s Book of Mormon, it would have been a pamphlet. Likewise, if Ayn had excised but ½ of her similes and metaphors in Atlas Shrugged, the book would likely have shrunk to 1/3 and thus have doubled, if not quadrupled, its readers and its already prodigious sales. In this case, did Ayn’s self-expression exceeded her profit/self-interest motive and thus her prized reason?
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