The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand is this week’s book. Some of you may be familiar with this book or its author. Those that know about this author and her philosophy may be surprised to hear that I LOVE this book. Now, for those of you wondering what I am talking about, let’s give you a little background.
Basically, this book is about an architect and his insistence to build buildings his way – a way based on how the land looks and reacts to the structure. Along the way he is thwarted by a myriad of people. This is a unjust oversimplification of a 700 page novel, so keep that in mind.
But what this book really does is start the process of Ayn Rand defining her philosophical theory which she calls Objectionalism. Again, I will try to oversimplify this theory by saying it is based on the idea of selfishness and that man should strive to do what he desires and not what society thinks. It looks down on altruism saying that to serve others you must glorify and need the underprivileged. It is based on rationalism and a rational mind.
For those of you who know a lot about objectionalism or even just watch a quick youtube video about it you may be wondering why this psychic loved this book so much. The theory is basically about how we should strive to love ourselves and not love everyone equally. You guys know I am all about love – so what is with this book?
Okay, so, first off, let me just say that, philosophy aside, this book is written beautifully. The description of the human condition in this book is better and more accurate than I have seen written anywhere else. Just the use of adjectives and verbs throughout the text is a true work of art.
Interestingly, I also believe that Rand portrays intuition and psychic insight better than I have ever seen written in any fictional text. The little subtle nudges that is the intuition speaking are seen throughout the writing, but particularly in the first half. This is especially interesting because Rand poo-pooed the supernatural and the mystical and believed in just the rational mind. I am not sure she would like me saying that her book was likely a combined effort from her own mystical experiences.
Now, how about her theory. There are parts of her theory that I actually really like, I think she gets so close to saying and believing what I believe, but then we just diverge in the final aspects. Her main character in this novel, Howard Roark, is an example of individualism. He strives for perfection in all his work and he will only accept his work as he created it. The belief in this book is that doing your work and doing it well is better and more virtuous than serving your fellow man.
Believe it or not, I kind of agree with her. I see our purpose on earth is to be the expression of the divine as we are here to manifest it. It is through this expression that we actually serve others, not through direct service. What do I mean here. If you have as your heart’s desire to be a musician – if you have always loved listening and playing music – then it would be more beneficial to society for you to be a musician than to spend your time cooking food for individuals in a homeless shelter. Your true express of the divine would be that of a musician, not a chef, and by expressing yourself in that way you actually serve more of humanity by vibrating at a higher octave. Interesting concept, right.
The problem becomes that most of us are not brave enough to go after and pursue our hearts desires. We are taught by society to be afraid – to be afraid of not having a place to live or not having food to eat. We are taught that musicians don’t make any money so it is better to go to business school and be an accountant. We are taught that barely anyone that actually wants to be a musician succeeds. And we listen.
We listen to what our parents tell us. To what society tells us. To what the shows we watch tell us. And we believe them. We factor their beliefs into our framework for how society works instead of figuring it out for ourselves.
Then we seek their approval. Instead of looking to ourselves to be proud of what we are doing and checking in with our inner light – we ask our friend or our neighbor – we look to see how many likes we have on instagram or Facebook – it isn’t until we have those 10,000 followers – then what we do will have meaning and purpose – then what we do will be legitimate.
That is all a fallacy. We should do the work of our hearts because it is our purpose and our right to be the divine in manifestation. We should look to what we believe and what is in our hearts, not what others believe. And, most importantly, we should seek approval only from ourselves, not from outside ourselves.
So, yes, this psychic and metaphysician can jive with parts of Rand’s theory on Objectionalism. Maybe not the whole theory which discredits the supernatural, but bits and pieces of it. I see what she was getting at, and although I do not fully accept everything she writes and believes, I do not think she would want me to – she would want me to look inside myself and see what my true beliefs are and not seek approval from her or anyone else.
Have you read or heard of The Fountainhead or Ayn Rand??? What are your thoughts??
This is the first of your blog posts I’ve read in a very long time and it’s restorative to feel your voice again. Beautifully written. I tried to read Atlas Shrugged years ago and could not get into it. I know I’d be setting myself up for failure if I tried to read Ayn Rand right now (it’s taken me this long to even read one of your blogs!), but you make me want to give her another shot. Maybe in a few years. Right now though, I feel I am living as my heart desires and I am truly happy.
I have a question back to you though: how does one avoid hedonism and corruption if one constantly lives as one desires? How does one keep a balanced life? We are not silos and all relationships require a give and a take, so how do we function as a society and still embrace this philosophy? (These questions may be address in the book but since I haven’t read it, I don’t know!)
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Atlas Shrugged is on my “to-read” list for 2019. I agree though I would wait until you have a good amount of time and “desire” to read it.
As for your question – I actually would look to the work of the social-mind complex know as “Ra” to answer this question (yes, very woo-woo here, but what did you expect?). The theory is that when we follow our desire the root either is to service of self or service of others. If we are all created in unity (Law of One) then to serve others is to serve ourself – and to serve ourself is to serve others – because we are all one. It is our distortion for either service to self or service to others that we are currently living out in this 3rd density polarity and will determine which polarity we eventually move onto in the 4th density.
Now, to put it in non-woo woo terms – my belief is that, at our core, most of our true desires are those that would, in the end, help others. A lot of what we label as “sin” are not actually that but social constructs that, if torn away, would lead to less negative behavior. By labeling some things “good” and others “bad” we put judgment on them – but where does this judgment come from? Is it from ourselves or society? Where is the basis of these rules in our society and is it best to still follow them or abandon them?
I could probably go on and on, but I will say, as a preview, I have a post about my beliefs on “good” vs “evil” coming up in a few weeks…
You’ve answered your question with the clause after “if”. “Living as one desires” is a life-long project to identify, define, and pursue that which truly makes us happy. My experience is that people who expect big houses, new cars, fancy electronics, heavy drinking, mind altering drugs, and easy sex to make them happy always end up unhappy. True happiness comes from within, a feeling of being right with the world, not from what you own or how many people you slept with. How often have we heard from rich people that money alone does not make one happy?
An unhappy person, by definition, has not lived as he desired. He has, in fact, lived contrary to his true desires. Note the character of Peter Keating and his transformation from the beginning to the end of Fountainhead. He chose badly…his real desire was to be an artist…and he traded that for the trappings of a career for which he had no passion.
Our search for meaning is the mechanism for finding a ‘balanced life.’ When the big house is making us unhappy, we downsize. When the new car payment is oppressive, we sell it. When our sexual encounters are unsatisfying, we look for emotional connection.
If people in general really pursued their true desires, they would be anything but hedonistic. Unfortunately, many people are not living by their desires, but by the expectations of others.
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This is a beautiful response. My word for the year is “authenticity” and I have learned a lot about authenticity is figuring out my true desires. Living by your desires moment by moment is more akin to drinking an extra cup of coffee and working your life purpose instead of anything that could be labeled hedonistic.