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Enough of that
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
That's enough -- no more Fountainhead for me. I spent some time today browsing web articles on Objectivism. It's a pretty coherent philosophy, on the face of it, and I agree with many of its tenets. I just don't think _The Fountainhead_ actually reflects those tenets terribly well. One brief Rand-ian description of her philosophy is:
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
*Nobody* in TF (at least as of about 60% of the way through) has achieved anything approaching happiness, *including* the characters whom I take to be the protagonists. Their own happiness may be their moral purpose, but they're terrible at achieving that purpose. They are "heroic" primarily in the amount of punishment they can withstand, usually self-inflicted.

As mentioned in earlier comments, I have several friends who identify as masochists -- that is to say, they enjoy physical pain. But the masochism of Roark and Dominique is not of that sort; they seem drawn to *mental* pain. They are only 'happy' when they are utterly miserable -- and miserable in an absolutely moral way, which seems utterly unconnected to sex. I'm not normally judgemental about other people's kinks, but this seems terribly broken and wrong to me, and I'm really not enjoying reading about it.

On a separate note, I'm greatly annoyed at the absolute lack of compromise shown by these characters, and the (to my mind) great damage it does to them. Given a Roark who was able to compromise just a *small* amount, the architectural firm of Keating & Roark would have taken the world by storm. Together, they would have done a huge amount of good, and (I think) Roark would have gotten no fewer "perfect" buildings accomplished than he did by being so stubbornly uncompromising. As a high-schooler, I would have amired such absolutism, but I'm much happier now that I've learned to bend a little, when it will have useful effects.

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(Deleted comment)
Well, I said it was coherent "on the face of it" -- I'm not motivated to spend a huge amount of time finding the incoherencies.

here is a particularly good example by Nathaniel Branden.

Heh. I recently picked up issue #2 of Action Philosopher Comics, the "All-Sex Special", which featured a story about Ayn Rand's "Non-Objectivist Love Affair" with Nathaniel Branden :-)

Thanks for the pointer!

(Deleted comment)

Normally I wouldn't recommend this

Have you considered getting a Cliff's Notes pamphlet on this book from the Library? There may be some key thing in there which might help sort out the very peculiar tangle you describe the book being.

That said, I really should try and read the book sometime. Maybe we can hate it together.

Re: Normally I wouldn't recommend this

There may be some key thing...

Actually, I found something that seemed very key in the link patrissimo gave above:
She used to say to me, “I don’t know anything about psychology, Nathaniel.” I wish I had taken her more seriously. She was right; she knew next to nothing about psychology. What neither of us understood, however, was how disastrous an omission that is in a philosopher in general and a moralist in particular.
That said, I really should try and read the book sometime.

Uhhhh... okayyy. You're certainly welcome to my copy.

Re: Normally I wouldn't recommend this

It's supposedly one of those big important classics. I should at least try it.

Re: Normally I wouldn't recommend this

Cool quote! Thanks; I went and read the article. Very interesting.

I'm not normally judgemental about other people's kinks, but this seems terribly broken and wrong to me, and I'm really not enjoying reading about it.

Hey, it's not as if Rand was non-judgmental. When the whole point of these characters is to provide a model of an Objectivist hero for you to look up to, it would be wrong for you not to exercise judgment.


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