I don't completely understand Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, but after the first time I read The Fountainhead, and followed by Atlas Shrugged, I found in her a writer that was able to mix fiction and philosophy. Here are seven reasons why I learned to love Ayn Rand:
Don't read Ayn Rand when you just want to relax because honey, this writer was out to batter your brain to make you think, squeeze every intellectual juice out of it, and force you to ask questions and seek for answers. I may not agree with everything that she believes in but here is a writer that encourages you to think more after you read her books.
I didn't care much about Rand’s essays and non-fiction work, but as mentioned, I love The Fountainhead. It details the life of a young architect named Howard Roark. Reading this book was an intellectual-emotional struggle. It was the kind of book that I can’t read alone. I would pause from time to time and discuss it with my brother, who is an architect.
Rand’s writing is not out to impress. Her novels were out to inform and to share her thoughts and beliefs. Others chose to reject her credo; others joined her “Collective”. But I think the good thing about having an Ayn Rand in our history is that she refused to just sit down and accept the status quo. She tried to shake the world and defied the norm.
In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand introduced us to John Galt, the leader of the strike (where the best artists, industrialists, etc. decided to leave the US and went on a mountain retreat). What if that does happen? How are we, “mere mortals”, going to respond? How are we going to function? The presentation of situations and realities in her novels make room for questions and seeking for answers. It also knocks on the mental door of the reader to answer the question: “What will you do?”
I am a very emotional creature but Rand’s writings made me pause and say: “Wait a minute. I ought to use reason in this situation over my emotions.” There are several things in life that cannot be resolved by a deluge of feelings. Letting your reason guide you can sometimes spell the difference between defeat and success.
If you have read Rand’s novels, you will know that she truly knows her enemies. Take for example, Peter Keating, the ambitious young architect who will do everything to rise above the rest and snag every major project. Rand describes him very well as the one whose conscience occasionally troubles him but he remains focused in his quest to dominate the world of architectural design. I love how she describes the architecture columnist Elseworth Toohey who hides behind the phrase “public service” but actually draws strength from the power of being above everyone else.
Whether you agree with her or not, Ayn Rand is a brilliant philosopher. Objectivism is a hard pill to swallow to some and I, myself, am still reading about it (and have encountered a few parts with which I do not agree). But…the thing with Rand is that you can see practical applications of her philosophy in daily life and indeed, there is much to discover if you just open your mind.
Have you read any novels by Ayn Rand?