Add Comment

FORMATTING HELP

All Comments Hide marked as read Mark all as read

  • Posted by Son_of_the_Right_Herder 1 week, 2 days ago
    Looking at Ayn Rand's own experience during the writing of Atlas Shrugged (1957), she was engaged in a relationship during the 1950s with Nathaniel Branden, whilst still being married to Frank O'Connor(Whom she married in 1929). The thing people forget when we idolize the works of great people is that they are still human like any of us. She was likely in the midst of justifying her infidelity to her husband, and why her relationship had gone sour. She remained married until he passed in 1979. I believe she did love him, I also believe her actions were wrong. Authors often use inflection to better write their stories, making them an extension of themselves. This is why you see poor relationships, infidelity, and single characters. Ayn Rand strikes me as someone who suffered through clinical narcissism. Something that I have also struggled with in my life. While I still believe firmly objectivism is a moral philosophy based on solid axioms, it isn't without amendments (or statements/viewpoints made by Rand as she further grew her philosophy). Her later works illustrate her personal growth.

    "I consider marriage a very important institution, but it is important when and if two people have found the person with whom they wish to spend the rest of their lives — a question of which no man or woman can be automatically certain. When one is certain that one’s choice is final, then marriage is, of course, a desirable state. But this does not mean that any relationship based on less than total certainty is improper. I think the question of an affair or a marriage depends on the knowledge and the position of the two persons involved and should be left up to them. Either is moral, provided only that both parties take the relationship seriously and that it is based on values."
    -Ayn Rand's Interview with Playboy

    TLDR
    Books are a reflection of an Author, at the time she was writing Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand was experiencing personal struggles with her relationship, the book reflects this. She is human like the rest of us and she did grow and learn from her experiences for the better in my opinion.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by Mamaemma 1 week, 2 days ago
      I believe that Rand cared for O’Connor, but I don’t believe that she loved him and saw him as her final choice. I think the relationship she detailed between Danny and Galt is what she yearned for, and never had. I have always taken note that her marriage to O’Connor made it possible for her to stay in the US. The marriage served them both, but he was never her great love. So it was inevitable that she would look outside the marriage at some point. And of course this is all speculation.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by Son_of_the_Right_Herder 1 week, 2 days ago
      I hope this helps answer your question. I asked my self the same question at one point, and I do see aspects of my self in her characters. It's important to understand the values she illustrates in her book but that it isn't without faults.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by SilentScream 1 week, 3 days ago
    I can only speak for myself, but I do think there is something to be found in that. I think we start with max potential as children and slowly get set on our courses through our choices and actions. Committing to one thing means letting other things & potential paths slip out of our realm of possibilities and the decision to get married and decision to have kids are both pretty big determining forks in a person's course. Especially if you really love and care about the one(s) you commit to share your life with and pour a part of yourself into, but even those who rushed in (following the "first-love = true love" and "baby bug" rationale of teenage hormones) and come to regret & resent their decisions, they still come at a cost and alter the course.

    I'm a happily single 37 year old dude & I do feel like I'm on a good path for me, but I certainly don't think it's right for everyone (That just wouldn't be very sustainable now, would it?). On the contrary, I sincerely hope that the younger guys who look up to me a bit can see both the good and the bad sides of me, rather than assuming that it's all sunshine & roses walking alone. I think especially now the majority of folks who have grown up with access to so many brain-tickling things to disassociate from reality whenever it feels like it's just too much, there are more people out there than ever who never learned how to be alone and it could very easily drive a person crazy or nihilistic.

    Nature and nurture just shaped me a little differently and I never could quite settle for the "normal" or popular things/beliefs. On the plus side, I've been more free to explore (both my inner and outer world), find and follow a creative hobby/skill in my own free time (time is a luxury that few can afford, but in that respect "I am the 1%"), and dive a little deeper into way more good books, articles, lectures, documentaries, and podcasts than would even be possible for someone married &/or with children. But the downside of that is that I have to actively & mindfully manage & balance my own issues and left versus right brains, have to take care of myself into old age even (or however long I'm here), and will almost certainly die alone but I have come to terms with that. My dad passed away at home (not in a nursing home) with his whole family surrounding his bed and speaking to him, but still he passed away alone slipping back into his mind well before "giving up the ghost" and it seems like maybe we all do, so I try to maintain the best relationship I can manage to find with my other side.

    In summary, the trade off seems to be that committing to pouring of one's self into other people and things and child-rearing almost certainly diminishes one's rate & scope of future personal progress and growth but while someone who walks alone might be able to explore & improve themselves a little further, they also have to face the facts that the further you go & more different from "the norm" you grow, the harder it is to find like-minded folks & everything you've learned but failed to share with others in your life dies with you (so my everlong quest is to keep searching for wherever I might be able to best fit and matter enough to others to be able to share and pass on whatever I can of the good things I've found). The shamans, artists, dream-readers, visionaries, and other such folks who find or make their own paths alone still need the rest of the tribe as much as the tribe needs them to keep positive progress and innovation balanced and free-flowing. Just my perspective on it. It makes sense to me that the biggest movers & shakers might often be single or in failed marriages without kids because they have more freedom to find or make their own way with more focus & less distraction.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by Mamaemma 1 week, 2 days ago
      I would like to address “committing to pouring of one’s self into other people and things and child-rearing almost certainly diminishes one’s rate and scope of growth”.
      I couldn’t disagree more. Each of us is an individual. As someone who is not committed to another person, including children, you are able to know and experience the positive effects that has had on your life and growth. You actually mention several times that what is true for you may not hold for others, which is commendable.
      In any case, I can tell you from experience, that my “rate and scope of personal growth” has been multiplied enormously by the experience of being committed and raising children. I was amazed by the things my children brought to me that I would never have experienced otherwise. A small example: my child who wanted to play piano opened me up to becoming a decent classical pianist myself.
      The most important thing to me is that there is nothing worse than someone getting married and having children when it is not what they want to do. It is an individual choice that each of us makes.
      And to the original question, I think that Rand had no need to have children in her novel in order to present her philosophy. And it is also something she knew nothing about, and therefore was wise to not address.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by SilentScream 1 week, 2 days ago
        Thank you for taking the time to add your very healthy perspective to mine and giving anyone else reading this a better, more well-rounded picture. I can't find anything in it that I disagree with at all, and I might try to find the most accurate words to relay what's in my mind, but I'm still a work in progress, still very much limited in my own sight & scope, and still open to (and even looking for) the words and concepts that aren't quite right (to fix them before they can do any more harm to myself or others). "almost certainly diminishes" was a poor and un-fair choice of wording and I'm glad you brought up some of the magic that I missed (and of course I did).

        For a good parent who actually cares about their children, I've heard many others too describe it as a magical, life-changing, empowering, and awakening thing and I believe it even though I may not get to see and experience it. I certainly do not wish to convey that one choice or the other is more right for anyone else, as I've known many who have died from the oppressive sides of both loneliness/isolation AND bad marriages that they were both legally and religiously bound to. Each must work out their own salvation through their own careful and mindful choices, not through finding and following a leader who pretends to hold the truth for you.

        From an outside perspective, all I can maybe see and suggest is something that you already appear to have a pretty good handle on, but so many don't: Just listen & take them seriously. Parents have a tendency to "know more than you" try to do all of the teaching and thinking for their kids ("because I said so") and be quicker to silence them than to listen for what they have to give back. You give them more than you realize and most folks don't take kindly to their flaws being seen and pointed out (especially by their owned kids), but they're no less there to either be reckoned with & integrated or suppressed with the seeds of resentment/rebellion sub-consciously planted and grown (both ways). Thank you for being a good parent and raising the kind of strong, smart, and healthy people who are able to adapt, compete, survive, and thrive in a world that seems more intent on breeding mentally and physically fragile pugs that are just "cute" (allegedly) & fun to play with, trick, and laugh at their silliness.


        "You who hold the children dear, look after us, the little 1s. Forever in the world we wander. Our happiness is in your hands. Happiness comes. Happiness goes. But you remain omnipotent kings." (just a quote at the end of a good song I was listening to this morning before reading your reply)
        https://youtu.be/0AYzzzBaPBI
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by Mamaemma 1 week, 2 days ago
          Hey, I got goosebumps reading your closing quote. As to raising my children, they had both read Fountainhead and Atlas before they were 16. I have always had great respect for them, and I have great respect for the adults they have become.
          And I have respect for your choice, as for now at least it is the right one for you. Forgive me if I hope that someone comes along who is worthy of you.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by SilentScream 1 week, 2 days ago
            That would be nice to get the chance to find and experience the magic & wonder of BOTH sides in one lifetime, but I would be a pretty cruel fool to rush in just because I wanted to without first finding the right person place, and time to have a good solid foundation ready. "Never put the cart before the horse" they said. Then an older friend who was a mover & shaker in his own right in his younger days advised me to "Be wary of those who would tie their cart to your horse", and I've since found on my own that I'm really better off not letting myself be tempted to tie my own cart to anyone else's horse either. But maybe one day I'll find myself sharing the same road with someone else who also happens to be going my way

            When I read Atlas Shrugged, I remember thinking "Man, I wish my dad could read this without his religious blinders triggering him into throwing it down and stamping on it like it's a snake". Same goes for George Carlin's comedy. I really think he would have enjoyed and appreciated it immensely if he could have gotten over his delicate sensitivity to swear words.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by $ 1 week, 3 days ago
      Wow, I didn't expect such an in-depth answer. My thoughts exactly Are you sure we're not twins? :)
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by $ Commander 1 week, 3 days ago
        LOL! He's a handful eh? He and I had a 2-1/2 hour dialog last night covering the above to some degree and a lot more. A real privilege.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by SilentScream 1 week, 2 days ago
          Good conversations go both ways and can be hard to break away from as long as new & different thoughts keep leading to new & different thoughts. ...even with the distraction of a probably fractured fingertip saying "come on, man! Pay attention to me!" and then really screaming as soon as the conversation ended and it had my full attention. I can see how tempting it would be for a person to hit the easy button and pop a pain pill as bad as it was last night, but I don't have or want any. I'll live and maybe more thoroughly learn my lesson by riding it out, and I was honestly a little curious to see if I could turn it down & tune it out enough to fall asleep. Actually did pretty well at the latter and slipped over to the other side in a normal amount of time, but it slipped over too and stayed with me through the dreams without getting turned down any, so I'm pretty sure I cracked it this time. In the wise words of Tupac Chopra, "It only takes one OH CRAP to screw up all them ATTABOYs" LOL
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by $ Commander 1 week, 2 days ago
            Everything is a relationship. You and I have a choice on every perception and occasion of experience. Being aware of this is the marrow of consciousness.
            And so...yesterday'''s and today's choice is to help my ex-wife and husband-in-law in a roofing endeavor....oh there's a story there!
            Relationships and choices.....
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Posted by SilentScream 1 week, 2 days ago
              Yes. We live in a world that is SO much larger and more far-reaching than our limited perspectives can fully see, grasp, or alter in any significant ways alone and that alone may seem sad and depressing on the surface but there is so much more in that to be found and balanced out by considering the other side of that. We may be contained within our own limited perspectives inside these meat-suits that our self-powered perpetual motion, electromagnetic, anti-entropy machines are running behind the seen, but the world we see is no less real to each of us and can be touched, interacted with, and actively shaped by our own two hands into a better person who wakes up to a brighter, more colorful and wonderful world tomorrow.

              The answer to my question is contained within it. Both a "yes" and a "no" and a SO I see(d). If/when a thing is hard to understand, I try standing on my head, turning it around, or sending my dog after it while I work on something else. LOL
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
              • Posted by $ Commander 1 week, 2 days ago
                From George Carlin....nail two things that have never been nailed together before.
                This is where you find me facing the corner giggling to myself....leave me alone! I'm having too much fun.
                Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ 1 week, 1 day ago
    And I think it could be seen as a mixed message if the protagonists' philosophy was to live for yourself, and yet they had dedicated their lives solely to another person. I know Rand has insisted many times that marriage, for lack of a better term, is an "exception" to the rules against altruism. Do I believe one can pursue one's rational self interest and yet still be married? I would say yes, though as a bachelor myself (with no desire to change that situation) I might personally not fit that mold. But one could argue that a lifetime partnership is at least in some small sense "living your life for another person." I've never been able to separate the two in my mind.

    I will fully confess that my own commitment to lifetime bachelorhood is at least partly a reflection of my own independent spirit, that I do not think in my case, that I could commit my life to another person. I could never see myself as a husband and father. And in that respect I see some of myself in people like Rearden and even Ellis Wyatt.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Lucky 1 week, 2 days ago
    Yes there is that tendency in life generally, having a family has been described as 'taking hostages to fortune'.
    It makes those of independent thinking keep a low profile
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by VetteGuy 1 week, 3 days ago
    I was also puzzled by this when I read the book. I think it reflected the difficulty of being truly selfish (as a virtue) when a spouse is involved. The heroes are all single. Hank Rearden was married before he 'went Galt' but got divorced prior to disappearing. Similar for children. Only mention I recall of children is the one woman raising her children in the Gulch (Dagny meets her near the market).
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by Mamaemma 1 week, 2 days ago
      Of course it is not difficult to be truly selfish when a spouse is involved. Everything I do to make my spouse happy is a selfish act. I am doing what makes me happy, and I am living according to my values. There is no sacrifice involved.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Idiocracy42 1 week, 3 days ago
    I don't think Rand generally introduced any characters that were not needed for the story.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by $ 1 week, 3 days ago
      That would be my guess. I wonder if Lillian Rearden was even necessary.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by $ jbrenner 1 week, 3 days ago
        Most definitely she was needed, and in a lot of ways, she illustrated your point.

        My wife and I are very happily married, but that is rare indeed.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by $ 1 week, 3 days ago
          Which of my points did she illustrate? Just curious. I just don't think she added much to the plot, unless you're talking about a vehicle for Rearden's "sanction of the victim" conflict pointed out by D'Anconia.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by $ jbrenner 1 week, 2 days ago
            Ayn Rand views all relationships as value for value exchanges, which I agree with despite that being unpopular in today's non-Gulch culture. Rand believed that when a relationship ceased to be productive, one should get out of it. This is a direct attack on the reliigiously-based "Til death do us part" and the "no adultery" commandment from the Ten Commandments. She believed that relationships between consenting adults were their own business. With the exception of the former Hollywood actress' happy relationship in the Gulch (How ironic is that given that Rand herself started in the US in that genre in New York City?), marital relationships were not "til death do us part".
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  

FORMATTING HELP

  • Comment hidden. Undo