I'm going all the way to Springfield, MO to watch the movie, since local theaters are not showing it. If you are going there, too, let me know, and we could meet before or after the movie.
For those of you who are going to see it in other cities, why not let us know which city so that Hubbers who are like-minded and geographically proximate can meet each other?
I live in Australia and can't find out when it's being released here. I can't wait to see it! Of course I'm a little worried that it won't live up to the original book.
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."
--John Rogers, on the blog Kung Fu Monkey
See, I never understood that. In the The Lord of the Rings, good and evil are determined without examining any of one's premises. Somebody is good because he is labeled good. Someone is evil because he is labeled evil. But in Rand's books, you have to think through your values and determine what good is by what good does. And the same for evil.
So are you saying that thinking about values instead of accepting the ones society has assigned you is what stunts emotional growth?
I dunno, Sauron and his orcs were trying to enslave the whole of Middle Earth - sounds pretty evil to me
Really! And here I thought they were trying to liberate everyone from the tyranny of the free market!
Honestly, how can you tell what Sauron's politics were like?
Well, look at the landscape of Mordor: obviously he didn't care about the environment. Look at what his servant Saruman did to Isengard: turned it into an industrial wasteland, and later, ruined the shire just because he could. Sauron launched a preemptive invasion of Gondor to destroy the land and enslave the people. Sauron wanted dominion over all of Middle Earth. Look at the terms his emissary offered to Gandalf at the Black Gate.
Seems pretty obvious to me that Sauron was the Bad Guy. Maybe the Dunedain and the Rohirrim were no angels, but they weren't evil.
Yes, you could argue that Tolkein's values were feudalistic and anti-technology, but it's a long stretch from that to conclude that Sauron was really an OK kind of a dude and a victim of socialist bad publicity.
We hardly get to know Sauron. What did he do on his day off?
Okay, but that kind of evil is found only in fiction. Rand is accused of painting things in black and white, but she allowed for a lot more grey area than Tolkien.
In real life, no villain is all bad. Even Hitler loved his dog.
True, that kind of evil is only found in fiction.
No villain ever thinks himself a villain. Sure, Hitler loved his dog. And he also thought it would be a service to the world if all the people who weren't Germanic members of the Nazi party were killed off or enslaved (or both, not in that order). He thought he was doing the world a favor. Probably so did Sauron.
Maybe Sauron loved his ringwraiths after a fashion. Wormtongue certainly loved Eowyn after a fashion. But it doesn't really matter: they were all of them bad guys, and had to be stopped.
I'm not saying you can't have a perfectly fine fantasy in which we don't get to know the dark lord well enough to understand his world view and motives.
But where do you get off thinking that just because someone has different values from you they are necessarily irredeemably evil?
This is the kind of "black and white" thinking that Rand is accused of, but is not actually guilty of. It's possible to get to know Ellsworth Toohey and even admire his intellect. We can't get to know Sauron, and so the possibility of seeing what might be good about him is completely foreclosed. This leaves no room for critical thinking on the subject of good and evil.
"But where do you get off thinking that just because someone has different values from you they are necessarily irredeemably evil? "
I never said different=irredeemably evil. That's your interpretation.
But really, it depends on what those values are, dunnit? I mean, I suppose someone could embrace veganism and advocate for the banning of eating meat. That wouldn't make them evil, just different.
But if our hypothetical vegan advocated the enslavement and execution of people who eat meat, and actually started going about enforcing this plan, that then would be evil, and the guy would need to be stopped, no matter how nicely he treated his dog.
Somehow I really don't think we're having the same conversation....
I think we are having the same conversation. You assume that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, but you do not take into account that it is what we do with the power we have that determines whether we are good or evil.
"You assume that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely"
Wait, I don't think I said that. Did I?
I agree that power can corrupt. I also believe that in many cases corruption seeks power. I also believe that power need not corrupt, and it is possible to be both powerful and not corrupt. Those are my own real-world beliefs.
In JRR Tolkein's subcreation, the Ring is a corrupting influence, but not merely because it is powerful (the Elves also had three Rings of Power, and managed not to be corrupted by them). It is a corrupting influence because of the malice of its creator. This is part of Tolkein's subcreation, not my own belief about the nature and relationship of power and corruption generally.
In the real world, I absolutely agree that what we do (with power or without it) that determines whether we are good or evil.
We seem to be on the same page so far...
Are you guys sure that you aren't confusing "socially crippled" with "emotionally stunted"? Socially crippled I'll cop to. Emotionally stunted? I don't think so.
What do you think about autism? Autistics are by definition socially crippled. But they can have beautiful emotional lives, quite more daring than the average person.
Confusing? No. Confounding? Perhaps. They aren't interdependent. You can be emotionally stunted without being socially crippled and vice versa.
But why is there such mean spirited derision of socially crippled people? Why does everyone bend over backwards not to offend the physically crippled, but when they meet someone who is socially crippled are they so unwilling to become more logical and less sociable in order to meet the cripple on his own turf? Why, instead, is it considered okay to engage in name calling?
Couldn't you possibly rise to the challenge?
Wait, what? In order to engage in a discussion with someone who is less socially astute, one has to be able to (socially) recognize this and make allowances for it. One doesn't need to be less social, but more so. Also, logic and sociability are not mutually exclusive, Mister Spock notwithstanding.
Have you found my comments to be illogical? If so, how? Perhaps I've been unclear in what I was trying to say.
You obviously do recognize it when someone is less socially astute, otherwise you wouldn't know to call them "a social cripple". (Unless you are saying that this epithet was not intended literally.)
I do find it illogical to assume that if something is stated or dramatized in a fictional work, it must ipso facto be untrue. That isn't what fiction means.
Wait wait...the social cripple remark was in that quote above that someone else posted. I wouldn't have used the phrase "social cripple," it's not really my style, but yes, there are some people who are less socially astute than others. Some of them have some level of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and some are just nerds.
"I do find it illogical to assume that if something is stated or dramatized in a fictional work, it must ipso facto be untrue. That isn't what fiction means."
Well, no. If a work of fiction mentioned a blue sky, that wouldn't mean that the real-world sky isn't blue. But at the same time, there aren't any Elves. The statement, "Elves exist," is untrue in the real world. (Though lots of people in Iceland apparently believe that it's possible that Elves exist.)
I think we're on the same page there, too.
Look, here is where you are either very naive about the established practice of medicine or you are just choosing to call some socially disabled people names, while being "nice", but condescending to others.
What do you think it takes to get a diagnosis that would qualify one person to fall under the protection of ASD, while another is treated unkindly because he is "just a nerd"?
If you did believe in treating all people with respect, you would not do this.
"If you did believe in treating all people with respect, you would not do this."
Well, I'm a bit of a nerd. I also do not have ASD. I'm also not an MD or a social worker, so I speak under correction with my next point:
If someone is genuinely incapable of relating to other people and/or learning to do so, then, that puts them in the ASD category. If someone is merely unwilling to relate to others, or merely hasn't figured out how yet, then they're just a bit of a nerd.
Actually, I ought to've said "I'm an ex-nerd." Generally speaking, I get on okay with folks these days.
Calling yourself a nerd or ex-nerd is one thing. Calling another person who may be struggling to find a place in the social world the same because you disagree with his politics is something quite different.
You know, I think that's a very dangerous position to take, from the point of view of protecting civil liberties.
It sounds very similar to the argument that if someone chooses to be gay, but he could be straight, then he's a bad person, but if he can't help being gay then he needs treatment.
How about we cut all people some slack, and not inquire too closely into what it would take for them to act "normal."
I know this might not be too popular, but the book got on my nerves after the first 10,000 pages and I ended up willing it to end. This was only last year. I was left a little disapointed because I loved the Fountainhead.
I'll still go and see the film, as and when it makes it across the pond.
I loved The Fountainhead as well (and We The Living even more), but I had very mixed feelings about Atlas Shrugged - it was a gripping read, but the fanaticism was too much!
Ayn Rand doesn't get much press in the UK - the mainstream literary commentators/journalists tend to dismiss her as a nutjob.
I agree, I'm amazed how few of my friends have read the fountainhead, in particular (I'm also from the UK).
That is because she was a nutjob.
"Friendship, family life and human relationships are not primary in a man's life."
Playboy Magazine, 1964. Rand believed that for a man, work should always be put first, above family and relationships. Or so she said in Playboy.
I read the interview...she did seem to be quite black and white. For example, in reference to morality she said that "if you have compassion for the victim, then you can't have compassion for the perpetrator". Yet there are some circumstances where you might - a victim may even become a perpetrator. One of her favourite novelists was Micky Spillane and she offers the following as a reason why:
"In a primitive form, the form of a detective novel, he presents the conflict of good and evil, in terms of black and white. He does not present a nasty gray mixture of indistinguishable scoundrels on both sides"...
"I most emphatically advocate a black-and-white view of the world". She explains why here:
She's not a nutjob, but a writer of fiction.
The only difference between Atlas and LotR is that LotR is readily identifiable as fantasy to almost all of the population, while a sizable minority don't recognize Atlas as fantasy.
She's dismissed in the US as well. But look what is happening to the "mainstream literary press" -- it's going bankrupt! But Atlas Shrugged sells.
That's interesting. What did you love about the Fountainhead?
My last movie was " Jaws "...Scared me so bad I haven't been back since...
Ayn Rand is one of 10 people I would want at my dinner table...Her " For the New Intellectual " was my first introduction to her writing...
Her towering intellect was forged under tyranny and released under freedom...Her philosophical observations will be difficult to translate to a dramatic film. I'm thinking of her concepts re morality...
At the moral level, individualism has two dimensions: independence and egoism. Most writers, and this includes screen writers, seemed to get the first part, the spirit of independence, aspiration, and creativity...following your dream, not settling for a second-best life or being less than you can be...as opposed to giving up and conforming.
They, and most liberals, simply do not accept the other dimension, egoism : the idea of living for oneself, being a self-owner, pursuing one’s own happiness—and reaping the profits of one’s work...as opposed to living for others, “putting service above self,” embracing sacrifice and suffering as marks of virtue.
This is the more challenging theme because it conflicts with the ethics of altruism, and some writers want to “soften” the message in various ways.
I'm not saying this may be the case here, in this film, but I would be very surprised, and delighted, were it not so...Larry
Well, they got Lillian Rearden down to a T! Some other things were not as good. I think they got across that "service to others" at the expense of self is not good, but it may have been a complete mystery to the uninitiated.
I may write more about it in a hub.
The problem with comparing the fans of Lord of the Rings and Tolkein with fans of Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand is that the LotR fans don't actually think it would be a good idea to set up a High King to govern all the lands of the West in the real world (or if they do, it's pretty obvious that they're a bit off). But many fans of Atlas Shrugged actually think that in the real world, if the CEOs of several major corporations were to just quit and walk away, the world would certainly be plunged into chaos, starvation, deprivation, disease, etc. and that this would be a good thing! And for some reason, the rest of the world is hesitant to call these people sociopathic.
In reality, as well-adjusted people realize, if the CEOs of several major corporations were to all suddenly and simultaneously split, the next person in line would take over, and it would be business as usual. Nobody would miss the CEOs unless they knew them personally, just like most of the world wouldn't miss you or me if we suddenly split for Costa Rica. (If you already live in Costa Rica, substitute Iceland.)
Jeff, if the Lord of the Ring fans don't want to set up a high king, then they don't actually take anything in their literature seriously, and they are the ones who display emotionally stunted growth: the inability to really want to emulate their heroes. These are the sort of people who can think a monarchy in heaven is good, but a democracy on earth is good. They have no integrated sense of ethics.
On the other hand, what most "well adjusted people" don't seem to realize is that the average CEO is not a Hank Rearden or a Dagny Taggart. He is more likely a James Taggart who got favored by the government, and who would not have been able to make it in the free market.
I don't have a single CEO that I worship as a demi-god, do you?
But why should we necessarily want to emulate people in a work of fiction?
I think books like LOTR actually serve a very beneficial purpose: they provide people with a temporary escape from a world that is full of moral confusion, doublethink, ambiguity and hypocrisy. Speaking from personal experience, it can be really healing to get lost in a fictional world where there are good guys and bad guys, and the good guys win in the face of incredible odds.
Having said that (and getting away from fantasy literature, which after all, is just fantasy): I do personally find that there is a real shortage of fictional characters I can actually identify with. I would like to be able to find more novels of which I can say: "yes, I really want to be like that character", or "that character is me, but me at my very very best", or even "I really identify with and like/respect this person". The closest I've probably ever come is Sue Grafton's fictional detective Kinsey Millhone.
I think part of what a heroic person has to do is examine his own motives, face his own demons, correct himself when he is wrong, own up to mistakes, and be ever willing to examine premises when they prove unfounded.
When fantasy works make it seem that evil is always easily recognizable, they do more harm than good. For instance, they help perpetuate stereotypes. Then people come to assume that volunteering at a homeless shelter is good, but building up a business and offering employment to others is bad.
You're right, and I would totally love to see more books with this type of hero/heroine.
But aren't you assuming that people don't have the intelligence to distinguish fantasy novels from real life? As I said in an earlier post, part of the appeal (for me at least) of a fantasy like LOTR is that it doesn't have the uncertainties of real life. But that doesn't stop me from realising that real life isn't like LOTR.
As to the last sentence about homeless shelter volunteering versus offering employment: there may well be stereotypes which perpetuate this view, but I don't think any of them are present in LOTR. Unless I'm missing something LOL.
I also think there's an essential element in LOTR that's been missed in this thread so far: the book's emphasis on the corrupting nature of power - the fact that if Frodo had succumbed to temptation and worn the ring more often than he did, he would have eventually become like what he was fighting against. So there's a lot more to LOTR than just sword and sorcery.
"if the Lord of the Ring fans don't want to set up a high king, then they don't actually take anything in their literature seriously, and they are the ones who display emotionally stunted growth: the inability to really want to emulate their heroes. "
Because someone doesn't want to live under a benevolent absolute monarchy they don't emulate their heroes?
This assumes several things:
1) these people's hereos are fictional characters
2) They accept without question that their favorite fictional world is the best of all possible ones.
3) They accept that it is possible to re-create that fictional world in the real one
4) It is desirable to inflict their idea of a perfect world on everyone else in it, will they or no.
If this describes most fans of Atlas Shrugged (and if you want Atlas to shrug, it describes you), then they're at best mildly delusional and at worst sociopathic.
Atlas Shrugged is a work of fiction. The events in it would not take place in the real world, even if the leading industrialists of the world were all to take their toys and go home.
Well, those are a lot of different statements, not necessarily related.
Inflicting a high king on everyone is one thing, but not wanting to submit to a high king oneself begs the question: what was the point of the fantasy? To blow off some steam and then go back to business as usual? If you can't suspend disbelief long enough to believe for even one second, what is the emotional payoff of the fantasy? What do they really want?
Atlas Shrugged is a work of fiction. True. If current day CEOs quit, they could easily be replaced: also true! But doesn't this have to do with the fact that present day CEOs are more like Jim Taggart than they are like Dagny? In what way does this fact invalidate the premise behind Ayn Rand's novel?
And BTW, most Rand fans are just like all the other fans: they don't take her work all that seriously, either.
And do you think think that just because something is fiction its premises are necessarily false? Is there not plenty of non-fiction full of falsity, too? Aren't some fictional works repositories for important truths?
"Well, those are a lot of different statements, not necessarily related."
They're related in that they are all implicit in your assertion that any LotR fan who doesn't try to bring Tolkein's fantasy to being in the real world are "emotionally stunted" and unable to "really...emulate their heroes."
"But doesn't this have to do with the fact that present day CEOs are more like Jim Taggart than they are like Dagny?"
I'm not satisfied that this is the case. What are your reasons for thinking this is so?
"In what way does this fact invalidate the premise behind Ayn Rand's novel?"
Well, firstly, Ayn Rand's novel assumes that the only people even remotely capable of taking care of themselves and anything beyond themselves are a tiny few captains of industry. It further assumes that when said captains of industry abdicate their positions, the whole world will fall into chaos (and that the ensuing death and destruction is a desirable thing). It further assumes that those captains of industry would be able to survive in the new, no-infrastructure-having world without (at least, not explicitly) spending any time learning how to be a farmer beforehand.
It's a fun fantasy, and the book is a good read, but it's not a good model for the real world any more than LotR is.
"And BTW, most Rand fans are just like all the other fans: they don't take her work all that seriously, either."
I'm sure that's true. It's just easier to spot the LotR fanatics; they're the ones wearing cloaks and ear tips and stuff. The Randian fanatics are a lot less obvious, and most folks don't quickly recognize them as delusional because 1) there's no outlandish get-up and 2) the world they want superficially resembles the one we live in.
But still, the LotR fanatics are harmless; they're not trying to inflict their fantasy on our reality. The Randian nuts are potentially dangerous, because they want to destroy the real world in order to "save" it.
"And do you think think that just because something is fiction its premises are necessarily false?"
No, not at all. Tolkein's books advocate some true premises in the subtext; for example, these are just from the Scouring of the Shire, one of the last chapters: It's wrong to wreck stuff for no good reason. Left unchecked, industry will ruin things. There's always someone who will go along with bad guys if they think they can get something out of it. If enough small people stand up to bullies, the bullies will have no power at all.
"Is there not plenty of non-fiction full of falsity, too?"
Sure, but that's a bit outside the scope of our discussion, isn't it?
I'm not saying that Lord of the Ring fans should attempt to work magic or do anything contrary to the laws of physics. This, after all, is where suspension of disbelief comes in when we read a work of fantasy. What I am saying is that to the extent that Tolkien's work is about values, too, then to revere the heroes without emulating them, in the real world, and without magic, is an empty form of hero worship.
To say "All good is unattainable, so let's not try to attain it" is to be morally bankrupt. I'm not saying all Lord of the Ring fans are. But the ones you seem to think are emotionally mature because they have no faith in their own values definitely are.
"I'm not saying that Lord of the Ring fans should attempt to work magic or do anything contrary to the laws of physics."
No, I never thought you were.
"What I am saying is that to the extent that Tolkien's work is about values, too, then to revere the heroes without emulating them, in the real world, and without magic, is an empty form of hero worship."
Sure, but there are other ways of revering/emulating the heroes of that story without trying to duplicate their monarchial system of government. You can be steadfast in the face of opposition, do right even though it's inconvenient, keep your promises, protect those less powerful than yourself, etc.
"To say "All good is unattainable, so let's not try to attain it" is to be morally bankrupt." Agreed, but I never said that. I said that it would be a bad idea (and emotionally and intellectually immature, to boot) to try to found a Kingdom of Gondor in the real world. In that one specific area, it would be bad to emulate the heroes of Middle Earth.
To apply the same reasoning to Ayn Rand's world, it would be bad to try to plunge the world into chaos and destruction (assuming that you were able to do so) just to make a political point. It would be good to build up a corporation, create jobs, eschew governmental protectionism, and become wealthy without resorting to fraud, deception, intimidation, or violence. I'd love it if more folks would do that. But that's not usually what Rand's disciples are talking about when they say they want to emulate the heroes of Atlas Shrugged.
There is real evil in the world. How many Tolkien fans went out looking for Osama bin Laden to do battle with? How many of them stood up to the ATF when it was killing men, women and children in Waco?
Going to a fantasy convention just doesn't cut it.
"There is real evil in the world." No question.
"How many Tolkien fans went out looking for Osama bin Laden to do battle with?" How many Marines are Tolkein fans?
"How many of them stood up to the ATF when it was killing men, women and children in Waco?"
At a guess, I'd say exactly the same number of Tolkein fans as Rand fans, Dodgers fans, and Superman fans: zero.
"Going to a fantasy convention just doesn't cut it."
No, but taking up arms isn't always the best thing to do in the real world either. I marched against the invasion of Iraq. (It didn't work, but there you go.) Many of my fellow LotR fans were there, too. So yeah, we do try to do what's right. Not because it's what Aragorn would have done, but because it was the right thing to do.
"Going to a fantasy convention just doesn't cut it."
No, but those cons are a lot of fun.
When people quit their job, it's a personal decision. Lots of people have dropped out of the corporate rat race, and some of them were shrugging when they did so.
Many others continue working at jobs they don't like, employed by companies that are on the dole. Some of these people are objectivists, but they would never dream of quitting. They don't think they could make it on their own.
Many others accept money from the NSF, because if you want to do research as a scientist, that's what you have to do. When I was contemplating starting my own ape research project, I was afraid I might end up like Stadler in Atlas Shrugged. So I dropped out instead and have my own, privately funded ape language project.
Did this cause the current economic collapse? I don't think so ;-> But I do try to live by my ideals.
"Lots of people have dropped out of the corporate rat race, and some of them were shrugging when they did so."
I'm sure that's true.
"Did this cause the current economic collapse? I don't think so ;-> But I do try to live by my ideals."
No it didn't, and that goes to show that people dropping out of the rat race (for whatever reason) doesn't cause the end of the industrialized world.
Hey, Aya, this has been a great discussion, but I gotta get off the computer and go do other stuff. Thanks for a fun conversation; this has been much higher level discourse than usual on the forums!
The corporate structure is such that in publicly held corporations it is not inventors or technicians who rise to be CEOs. Instead, people who are good at dealing with government regulators and the general public are selected. In this kind of atmosphere, captains of industry don't exist. And in fact, we haven't had any industry for years.
"The corporate structure is such that in publicly held corporations it is not inventors or technicians who rise to be CEOs."
You may have something there, but there are exceptions, like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, the Facebook guy, etc.
Bill Gates doesn't impress me. I think he's smart. But he copied, bought and backwards engineered a lot of software from other people, and Microsoft is not a company that commands respect among programmers.
Steve Jobs was the guy who thought up the "people friendly" aspects of Apple. Steve Wozniak was the geek.
The facebook guy is famous because of his grasp of social networking.
"Microsoft is not a company that commands respect among programmers."
Or users, really. Fair point. But Gates still founded and ran the company; built it from nothing, and he's a technician.
"Steve Jobs was the guy who thought up the "people friendly" aspects of Apple." Jobs isn't a programmer? I stand corrected.
"The facebook guy is famous because of his grasp of social networking."
And his ability to program Facebook. He's both a technician/programmer and socially astute. Those things aren't mutually exclusive.
I didn't say Jobs "is not a programmer" or even a computer designer. (The founding of apple is about hardware as well as software.) But Jobs is not the technical genius behind the operation. He did realize that a plastic case for the first Apple computers would be less off-putting to buyers than a metal box. This made a big difference to sales. It's a people thing.
Yes, of course, you are right. Socially astute and technically savvy are not mutually exclusive. But, really, is Facebook an industrial application? Does it involve manufacturing anything? Do you think the economy will re-surge thanks to Facebook?
As for not learning how to be farmers beforehand, that's kind of what the Zionist settlers did in Palestine, with some success, at least in the first generation. Downward mobility is hard on intellectuals, and there has definitely been a lot of back-sliding in subsequent generations in Israel, but Rand didn't envision the agrarian period lasting forever in Galt's Gulch. They would return to the world once the parasites lost their grip.
She did not imply she was waiting for ordinary people to perish. She only meant the looters, which is government regulators and people who live off taxation. She never implied that productive people like farmers and cobblers and black smiths would die. The implication was that industry would be destroyed, then rebuilt. While industry was out, ordinary people would do what ordinary people have always done: eke out a living by the sweat of their brow.
"She only meant the looters, which is government regulators and people who live off taxation."
Well, that's one interpretation, I suppose. It's been a while since I read the book, so I'd have to take another look at it before I could confidently disagree.
I happen to have recently read LotR with my son, so that story is at my fingertips, so to speak.
Even so, there would certainly be collateral damage. The "parasites" aren't just going to quietly starve to death while the producers make their shoes and plant their crops.
Empress Felicity, I enjoyed the Hobbit more than the ring trilogy, because it seemed more real and grounded. I like fantasy, but I like my fantasies to depart from the real world in one or two salient ways, while leaving most of the rules of reality intact.
Gollum was a believable character, for instance, because I could still identify with some part of his motivation. Sauron was totally unapproachable and therefore unreal.
Of course, I don't mean that readers don't know where an imaginary world ends and reality begins. I just can't understand fans who don't ask themselves what their favorite characters would do if they were in our world, or what they would do if they were transported into the fantasy world.
I totally don't get objectivists who just aren't even trying to live by their espoused ideals.
They're running it here as a double feature with "Gigli"
I read this book after my friend Cheeky Girl wrote about it in her website. It is stunning in that it predicts all the crap that is happening with banks and finance all around the world right now. Ayn Rand wrote about this in Atlas Shrugged, which made her a super famous person as a result.
Moral confusion, doublethink, ambiguity and hypocrisy are things we never get taught at school and so we are lambs to the slaughter when we are put out to pasture after the relative safe comfort of college and academia. Rand has a lot to say about the subjects of greed, materialism, and ego. I will certainly go see this film. It will a part one from what I saw on the Youtube trailers. The book is a big read, but just awesome.
I'm looking forward to seeing it tomorrow. I've read some reviews that said the character development could have been better, but it's that way when most novels make it to the screen. I still wouldn't miss it though.
I'm excited to see this when it leaves theaters. I am a huge Ayn Rand fan. Fortunately for me I read her books not knowing anything about her or her philosophy, so I found them to be really interesting to read. I had no clue that she had a cult following or anything like that.
Jane Bovary, yes, I saw that statement, but it sounds different when taken out of context. She did not say that people should not have family or friends or that our feelings for them are unimportant.
What she said was that to place friendship or family above our primary purpose in life is to subvert the whole idea of family and friendship.
She also said that one could choose to make being a parent a career choice, at least while the children are young and dependent, and then one should give one's all to being the best possible parent, as if it were the highest goal of one's life.
She also said that she took romantic love to be a serious matter.
Friendship, when you and your friend are striving for common goals, is a good thing. But a friend who expects you to sacrifice your goals for something else isn't really a friend.
Aya, I got the impression she was only referring to women when it comes to parenting as a career choice. She suggests it should be approached 'intellectually', as a 'science'and not 'emotionally'. Sounds cold...as well as unrealistic. Can a parent really detach in this way - how can emotion ever be subtracted from parenthood?
I don't think she was saying that family and friends aren't worth anything...just that they're not as important as a mans job "If they place such things as friendship and family ties above their own productive work, yes, then they are immoral".To have a man who's primary purpose was family would have contradicted her romantic ideal of the ruthlessly achieving, self-interested individual. I couldn't see her writing a book eulogising the qualities of a Mr. Mom.
I have to ask; does the world really need a philosophy that advocates self-interest? I would have thought there was plenty of that around already,
I have to answer: yes. The world really needs a philosophy that advocates self-interest. Are there plenty of others? Name one!
Not Christianity. Not Buddhism. Not socialism. Not Islam. Not Secular Humanism. Not even Wicca.
What other philosophy tells you that it is okay to save your own child out of a burning building before someone else's? What philosophy tells you that it is not okay to make someone feel guilty that there are hungry people in the world when he has done nothing to make them hungry? What philosophy tells you that it is all right to save your money for yourself, instead of giving it to someone else?
Objectivism wouldn't tell you to save your own child from a burning building at all. It is about putting yourself, and only yourself first. It would say forget your child: what if you get burned rescuing him or her? Let your child burn.
See, this is where you don't get what she said about love.
Love is your own valuation of the importance of something. If you love your child as if it were the highest work of your life to bring that child safely to adulthood, then you would do anything to save that child. It's in your own interest to do so.
But all the other philosophies say that if you really love your child, you will lay him down on an altar and sacrifice him to God, the Politburo, or someone else's children.
Would you like to explain the quote below then? You know, the one where she says raping and killing a 12 year old girl is something to be admired and even emulated?
Secondly it is a far cry from the only philosophy that advocates saving your own child rather than sacrificing it. For starters, Rand's world view was based heavily on Nietzsche's writings.
And well, thirdly, I believe that if sacrificing your child was the only thing that could save, say, millions of innocents, it would be immoral to dismiss it just because "it wouldn't make me happy bawww".
What quote below?
Are you talking about her assessment of Lolita? She said it was too sick and she couldn't finish reading it.
No, I'm not.
I'm talking about her praise of the serial killer William Hickman, who raped and chopped up 12 year old Marion Parker. She greatly admired him, as she notes at length in her diaries.
Okay. I can't imagine a scenario where sacrificing a child would save millions. But, I'll bite. So you think Agamemnon was right to sacrifice Iphigenia?
No, and I would argue that what Agamemnon did was Objectivism in its purest form. Artemis was only angry because of something Agamemnon did, and her punishment affected only Agamemnon and his crew. His sacrifice of Iphigenia was about doing what benefitted him, not other people. Hurting other people for your own benefit is at the very heart of Objectivism. Ayn Rand would have been proud of him.
Agamemnon was off to fight somebody else's battle. It wasn't even a war he started. He sacrificed his own daughter for the fatherland.
This is repeated throughout world mythology, even in the Bible. Yiftach sacrificed his daughter, because he made a promise to god that if he were allowed to beat the enemy, he would sacrifice the first living being he saw. Beating the enemy was something he did for all his people, not just himself. It was not "selfish".
The Christian story of the crucifixion is also about a father sacrificing a son for the sake of other people.
The call for self-sacrifice is everywhere, and a voice that tells us not to listen to that call is rare.
Aya, well self-interest seems to be the default state, so we don't need to be motivated toward it.
I suppose that's the very reason why traditionally, world philosophies/religions have tended to emphasise the opposite.
For anyone interested in hearing the other side: i.e why Ayn Rand is (justly, in my opinion) seem as a dangerous psychopath by some, this article is very illuminating: http://www.slate.com/id/2233966/
Some choice quotes:
"Her diaries from that time, while she worked as a receptionist and an extra, lay out the Nietzschean mentality that underpins all her later writings. The newspapers were filled for months with stories about serial killer called William Hickman, who kidnapped a 12-year-old girl called Marion Parker from her junior high school, raped her, and dismembered her body, which he sent mockingly to the police in pieces. Rand wrote great stretches of praise for him, saying he represented "the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul. … Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should." "
A man who raped and chopped up a little girl was "amazing" to her, to be admired. That, to me, says it all.
by tony0724 9 years ago
I myself am really looking forward to seeing how well they adapt the book to film. I read the book so long ago I actually had hair back then !
by mortimerjackson 8 years ago
I wrote a review of the recent Ayn Rand movie, Atlas Shrugged Part 1. And it got me to wondering why people like Ayn Rand in the first place. The review is here, for anyone who is interested. <link removed>If you're an Ayn Rand fan, why do you like her? If not, why do you think that people in...
by Susannah Birch 10 years ago
I love 'We the living'. Saddest romance ever.Second to that I'd go with 'Anthem'.What's your favourite Ayn Rand book?
by Credence2 4 years ago
In a interesting piece of rightwing fiction of the horror genre. ($50.00/gallon gasoline) This film has received rave reviews from the political right as the possibility of an ominous near future of overbearing Government agencies as incompetent, socialist, and sapping intiative from the...
by TheBlondie 9 years ago
Did you like Atlas Shrugged?The movie that just came out- if you saw it, what did you think? I didn't read the book, but I pretty much thought the movie sucked. Did you see any of the liberal ideas that were supposed to be there?
by Kenna McHugh 8 years ago
In comparison to Atlas Shrugged, have you read Ana Rand's first book We the Living?
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