Jan 23, 2011

Inspirational Awakening

I have read several books and delved into countless writings, but my inspiration still remains the same – Ayn Rand. I started reading her books when I was in school and had a reasonably capitalistic bent of mind. However, I do not agree with her philosophy of capitalism anymore, but her strong and persuasive and dominating play of words is like a blast of hot air and affects you long after reading. She was a renowned philosopher of her times. She mainly wrote hard core philosophical stuff.

But she is mostly famous due to her three works of fiction that reflected her core philosophy, which can be summarized in one sentence as: “Selfishness breeds perfection, which in turn paves the way for success”. Her three fictional works included “Fountainhead”, “Atlas Shrugged” and “The night of January 16th”. Sometimes I feel like making a documentary movie on these stories but then that is a very far fetched fantasy. Even her fictional work portrayed strong characters like Howard Roark, Dominique Francon, Dagny Taggart, John Galt, Hank Rearden, Gail Wynand who leave strong imprints in your mind. Not only this, she always favored original intelligence, creativity and individuality in her characters.

It’s been more than 10 years since I have picked up any of her writings. However her words still remain firmly engraved in my mind. Well, would you like to share who your favorite ‘Ayn Rand’ character is? Mine is Dagny Taggart with her unrelenting spirit to continue running her railroad company against all odds.

P.S.: I will come again with an open discussion on Ayn Rand and her philosophy of capitalism.

12 comments:

  1. Oh My God! I cant believe i have finally bumped into someone who is a fan of Ayn Rand's works. Its not that there's a dearth of such people in this world, actually quite the contrary. Ayn is a very celebrated (& cerebral ) writer and there are fan club around the world. its just that there are sadly very few around ME! Neha, you have taken the words out of my mouth, so to speak. I remember that it was one of those phases in my 'reading' life, a few years back, that I decided to pick up books which did not spontaneously appeal to me. But it was in that span that I ended up reading 2 of the best books that I have ever read. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer. Both books were heavy and both were not racy fictions, something that you would not read if you had little time or patience, which is what prevent most of us from reading quality books. While Ayn Rand's philosophy struck a chord in the deepest part of my mind, Shirer struck a chord in the depths of my heart. Coming to Atlas Shrugged...the book begins slowly and continues so with pages and pages of heavy philosophy in between which disappoints if one was after the story. I was irritated by it in the beginning but when I started listening more to the author than the story I realized that here was something life changing. The message in the book is loud and clear. it is a slap on the face of the communists and socialists. you cant but help agreeing strongly with the author and her views. she convinces you. it also stimulates you in more than one way. it also makes you want to be an entrepreuner. to be different from the rest, be ambitious and be counted. it tells you that it is no crime to amass wealth by using your brains, something that i always believed in. this book is a life changer. neha, love you for loving ayn.

    another book that i bought during those years but failed to read is tolstoy's War & Peace. its still lying on my book shelf gathering dust.

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  2. I completely agree with Neha & Sam. These books are not just 'masterpieces' but they affect your life in a big, big way...I somehow enjoyed reading 'Fountainhead' more than 'Atlas Shrugged'. It helped me to be more confident, individualistic and to have a thinking of my own. Some people might view it as 'rebellious' but at the end of the day..do others really matter?? We need to believe in 'ourselves' as that's what survival and success are all about...
    It was fun airing my views on this..it has revived and reinstalled the faith that I always had in myself but was dwindling over the years...;-)

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  3. @ Sam it is always exhilarating to talk to an admirer of Ayn Rand :)So the feeling is mutual. Sometime later, I plan to quote the philosophical lines in 'those pages' of Atlas Shrugged. It's been a long time since I have read those. It's very rare to see in a book that each and every line is pregnant with philosophy; and that's where Ayn Rand takes all the credit!!

    @ Nidhi Ayn Rand must have wrote 'Fountainhead' as a preamble to 'Atlas Shrugged'. Do you remember that the core philosophy in Fountainhead was written in the last 10-20 pages when Howard Roark was delivering his statement in the court and I think it started as "Thousands of years ago, man created fire and he was punished for it" or something to this extent. Great lines!!

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  4. Ayn Rand has written another great novel "We the living".

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  5. @ Rajendra that's right; in fact it was her first novel and was on autobiographical lines. Thank you for reminding this :)

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  6. Though i had not read Ayn Rand books...but my dad used to read those...he loves them....when ever he has a free tym he bumps into those books....

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  7. nice expressions. Though this is one writer whom I missed reading till date. May be in near future some interest may grow in.

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  8. How exciting to hear some positive comments about my favourite author!! Most of the stuff that you see on the net seems to be about how Ayn is evil and was the head of a cult! Its all such crappy BS and I think it prevents a lot of people from making a discovery that will change their life.

    I agree with Nidhi about Fountainhead vs. Atlas Shrugged...I'm still reading Atlas Shrugged atm, but it was the Fountainhead that really woke me up. I'd also recommend Rand fans to read "The Virtue of Selfishness"...amazingly well articulated, clearly argued essays around a bunch of political and philosophical concepts.

    Rand is hard to argue against, she is very logical and succinct. Totally love her for it!

    I've written a couple of posts that mention Rand if you're interested:

    http://secondfresh.com/?p=227

    http://secondfresh.com/?p=147 - this one is also about Alan Watts and the nature of selfishness

    and finally

    http://secondfresh.com/?p=67

    Alternatively, you can just search for "Ayn Rand" on my blog (http://secondfresh.com)

    Thanks for the post Neha!!

    Lauren K

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  9. @ Manoj Great to know that your dad shares the same passion regarding Ayn Rand's work :)

    @ Pramod Thanks :)You can start with 'Fountainhead', which is one of the lighter versions of Rand's work.

    @ Lauren I am glad you liked it :)It is really amazing how Ayn Rand has given 'Selfishness' an altogether new meaning. Thanks for reminding me of this book 'The virtue of selfishness'...been a long time since I read it.

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  10. Read fountainhead n atlas shrugged when i was oh- so -idealistic....was in college then and really struck by ayn rand's work...very gripping n inspiring...but today i feel her work is so far from my reality....motherhood changes your entire approach n perceptions i guess.....it teaches u selflessness n giving...:)

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  11. @ Sumedha I too, do not agree with the philosophy of Ayn Rand which borders on selfishness. Moreover she also has a strong capitalistic philosophy, which is not palatable to me. However I still appreciate her work as an author and yet to find anybody whose writings are as strong and impressionable as hers. And, of course, motherhood changes a lot of things in people, especially those who are very individualistic.

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  12. Ayn Rand wrote interminable boring right wing diatribes extolling the virtues of capitalism while at the same time denigrating socialism. They were interspersed with soap operas about her neurotic, sexually repressed Heroes, who ran industrial monopolies like railroads running on copper rails and huge steel works in Colorado.

    I did read it in the end, not because it's any good (it's not - one-dimensional characters, absurd dialogue and even more preposterous philosophy underlying it all) but just for a glimpse into the bizarre fantasy world Randroids lives in.

    Rand's description of Howard Roark, hero of her novel The Fountainhead: "He was born without the ability to consider others." This, of course, would be the mark of a sociopath.

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I would love to hear your views.....