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Have you ever seen John Galt?

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Tom Rexton
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I've been wondering lately if there is such a man as John Galt--the "sexy-genius" whom Ayn Rand envisioned as the perfect man who is all at once a philosopher, physicist and inventor--a man with the combined minds of Aristotle, Newton and Edison in the body of an underwear supermodel. Have you guys ever seen or met such a man? I'm asking this because I still find myself doubtful of his existence. I can imagine people like Howard, Dagny, Hank and Francisco in real life, but John Galt is something else...

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There was an old British (I think) novelist by that name, but that's probably not who you're asking about. :)

Rand's characters are fiction, designed to express the ideal man within the context of a specific plot. Don't expect to find anybody precisely like them in real life. Finding people who embody the same principles, though, is another story... and yes, I've met such people.

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Well, there was Ayn Rand herself -- she was as close to a real life John Galt of anyone I know of. I think the category is 'someone who makes both great intellectual change in the reaml of ideas and great physical change in the realm of concrete reality'. If that is the category, then there are a number of examples. Jefferson and Paine and a couple of other founding fathers might fit.

I do think it's very possible that such a person, and maybe more than one of them, exists today. He or she may just be preparing for the right moment? Remember, no one knew about John Galt until he wanted them to know about him.

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Guest Tom Rexton

It's his unusual combination of skills that strikes me as almost impossible. Like I said, he's Aristotle, Newton and Edison all in one! You would think that if he did exist, he would be even more famous than they are! Everyone would practically know his name--as the people do in Atlas Shrugged. In the real world, everyone has heard of the three famous names I've mentioned. Why not a man the equivalent of John Galt?

And I'm not asking if you've met someone who embodies the just same principles, but the same concretes as well, i.e., the greatest philosopher-physicist-inventor ever.

Let me rephrase my question: Is there and have you met a man who has the mind of Aristotle, Newton and Edison, and who lives by Objectivism?

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  • 2 weeks later...

John Galt is out there, but many objectivists HATE him, and he probalby would not spend any time in objectivist circles.

This is because objectivism has lost touch with the philosophy of Ayn Rand and has traded dogmatism for self determination, cultishness for philosophy, rote-repetition for independant thinking.

Not all of them, of course, but far too many of them. WHY is the question I'm trying to answer.

How can you read a book like Atlas Shrugged, and then go on to cite Piekoff as an authority to shut down a disagreement? (A logical fallacy in the extreme, and about the most hateful-to-objectivism thing I think someone could do.)

It's as if Objectivism has become a cult that bears as little resemblance to Ayn Rands philosophy as the US government does to the one envisioned by the Constitution.

There are lots of John Galts out there. If you don't know at least one, I think its because you can't recognize him.

Don

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  • 2 years later...
John Galt is out there, but many objectivists HATE him, and he probalby would not spend any time in objectivist circles.

I disagree. I do not participate in objectivist circles to find John Galt, but to find the John Galt inside me. The many objectivists that you think would hate him, including the participants in this objectivist forum, only want to know him.

BTW, Their fallacy will become known soon enough. Did you not know that?

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I've been wondering lately if there is such a man as John Galt--the "sexy-genius" whom Ayn Rand envisioned as the perfect man who is all at once a philosopher, physicist and inventor--a man with the combined minds of Aristotle, Newton and Edison in the body of an underwear supermodel. Have you guys ever seen or met such a man? I'm asking this because I still find myself doubtful of his existence. I can imagine people like Howard, Dagny, Hank and Francisco in real life, but John Galt is something else...

Maybe John Galt is a Icon of what man is, Not anyone person, but a part of alot of people that act like him. or have read about him and try to imulate him .

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John Galt is out there, but many objectivists HATE him, and he probalby would not spend any time in objectivist circles.

This is because objectivism has lost touch with the philosophy of Ayn Rand and has traded dogmatism for self determination, cultishness for philosophy, rote-repetition for independant thinking.

Not all of them, of course, but far too many of them. WHY is the question I'm trying to answer.

How can you read a book like Atlas Shrugged, and then go on to cite Piekoff as an authority to shut down a disagreement? (A logical fallacy in the extreme, and about the most hateful-to-objectivism thing I think someone could do.)

It's as if Objectivism has become a cult that bears as little resemblance to Ayn Rands philosophy as the US government does to the one envisioned by the Constitution.

There are lots of John Galts out there. If you don't know at least one, I think its because you can't recognize him.

Don

Gee - your version of "John Galt" sounds an awful lot like somebody one might run into at a Cindy Sheehan rally. Just replace the phrase "It's Bush's fault" with "It's Peikoff's fault" arbitrarily asserted with the same motives and nihilistic venom and there you have him. Besides, one can't really say that Cindy is evil or evasive or even an emotionalist. That would be too dogmatic. Cindy merely has false ideas - and before we are too quick to denounce them as being "false" we would do well to carefully listen to what she says. Nine out of ten of her episodes of venting might leave one scratching one's head - but perhaps the tenth will let in some light! And if we fail to recognize the light that Cindy's alternative perspective potentially has to offer - well, it is obviously all Peikoff's fault as he has intimidated us into a shut down of disagreement.

It all makes sense to me!

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I've been wondering lately if there is such a man as John Galt--the "sexy-genius" whom Ayn Rand envisioned as the perfect man who is all at once a philosopher, physicist and inventor--a man with the combined minds of Aristotle, Newton and Edison in the body of an underwear supermodel. Have you guys ever seen or met such a man? I'm asking this because I still find myself doubtful of his existence.

Well, forget the part about the "combined minds".....how many people have you met or seen with merely the mind of an Aristotle, a Newton or an Edison? I have yet to meet any such person (though I have been privileged to have met people who knew Ayn Rand). Such minds are very rare and don't come along very often - but that doesn't mean that they don't exist.

I also think the premise of your question is inappropriately concrete-bound. To regard John Galt's particular choice of career interests and his physical appearance as being essential to his character and what makes him ideal is to miss the entire point. To take such a premise to its extreme could lead to situations such as the one Dr. Peikoff once described about a person who actually dyed his hair orange so that he could be a heroic and rational person like Howard Roark.

Ayn Rand portrayed John Galt as being a philosopher and a scientist because she had a specific point to make about the crucial importance of both fields in terms of advancing human knowledge and well being and how all of us owe a great deal to the talented minds in those professions. But one must never forget that John Galt is a storybook character - and while good fiction is based on reality, there is a difference between fiction and reality. There is nothing anywhere to suggest that Ayn Rand considered it some sort of requirement for a fully consistent adherent of her philosophy to have similar interests or choose a similar career path.

I also question the claim that Ayn Rand intended to portray John Galt as being an equivalent to Aristotle. While he was, obviously, very knowledgeable about philosophy, that was not his chosen profession. He did make a significant moral discovery with regard to the issue of sanction of the victim and the role of man's mind - which was, of course, a very significant discovery. And while he was the character who most explicitly articulated Ayn Rand's philosophy in the storyline, many of the philosophical points he articulated were not presented as necessarily being his own discoveries - perhaps they were points he learned from Dr. Akston. I don't recall anywhere in Atlas Shrugged where it was suggested that Galt discovered a philosophical system in the way that Aristotle or Ayn Rand did.

One thing that has definitely faded from the scene is the "Renaissance Man" in the sense of the Benjamin Franklin type who was famous and highly accomplished as a statesman, AND a scientist, AND a businessman, AND an inventor AND a diplomat AND as a writer/commentator. I suspect that a great deal of this has to do with the amount of specialized knowledge that is required in many fields today as well as the larger number of knowledgeable, educated people eager to participate in them.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
I disagree. I do not participate in objectivist circles to find John Galt, but to find the John Galt inside me. The many objectivists that you think would hate him, including the participants in this objectivist forum, only want to know him.

BTW, Their fallacy will become known soon enough. Did you not know that?

I've always felt that John Galt represents the epidemy of idealism. When I read Atlas Shrugged, I couldn't believe such an amzing person actually existed or could exist, even though through my own idealism I like to think he may be out there. John Galt just seems like a "perfect objectivist", which brings up the question, is there such a thing as a "perfect" anything? In a way, I like the comment above the most because it is the closest to my own ideology. I like to think that through my own efforts I could someday grow to represent and ideal as powerfully as John Galt did. I felt the same way while reading about Howard Roark, but Howard Roark is someone I think I can definitely grow to be. John Galt is like a standard one strives to reach but never attains. If I could put the characters in order by how I see them ideally it would be (excluding females- for nonsexist reasons):

least

-Eddie Willers

-Leo

-Hugh A.

-Andre

-Ragnar D.

-Henry Rearden

-Francisco D.

-Howard Roark

-John Galt

most

Edited by AmbivalentEye
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I've been wondering lately if there is such a man as John Galt--the "sexy-genius" whom Ayn Rand envisioned as the perfect man who is all at once a philosopher, physicist and inventor--a man with the combined minds of Aristotle, Newton and Edison in the body of an underwear supermodel. Have you guys ever seen or met such a man? I'm asking this because I still find myself doubtful of his existence. I can imagine people like Howard, Dagny, Hank and Francisco in real life, but John Galt is something else...

First of all, it is absurd to wonder if the real world can produce an exact replica of a fictional character. By their very nature, fictional characters are abstractions from the realm of the actual to the realm of what might be.

Having said that, I am convinced that Dr. Leonard Peokoff represents the best real world example of Objectivist virtues and attributes. I've seen and heard him. As a heathy heterosexual, I have no opinion as to whether Dr. Peikoff has "the body of an underwear supermodel." Yet, if someone that I dated found him so endowed, I'd consider her sense of life a real plus.

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I've been wondering lately if there is such a man as John Galt--the "sexy-genius" whom Ayn Rand envisioned as the perfect man who is all at once a philosopher, physicist and inventor--a man with the combined minds of Aristotle, Newton and Edison in the body of an underwear supermodel. Have you guys ever seen or met such a man? I'm asking this because I still find myself doubtful of his existence. I can imagine people like Howard, Dagny, Hank and Francisco in real life, but John Galt is something else...

I have met a man with the spirit, mind and body in various combinations but not all in one. The thing is, when you meet a person who has the mind and spirit, does the body really matter? Of course I am talking about real life relationships, whereas Rand was creating art in which she rightly combined all these ideals in one because as an artist that's what she could and should do. It doesn't matter if you have met a galt, you know a galt can exist. Many of us here are examples of that fact.

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I think Galt was the man Rand could look up to and admire intellectually and not just for his masculinity - i.e. her intellectual superior. Granted, she created him, but she had years to plan in advance what he was going to say. The man who could act that way all the time, naturally, in real life, would be extraordinary.

Could a man of Galt's stature exist in real life? I definitely think so. If he can be thought of, he can be real.

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That's interesting. I would put them about like this:

-Eddie Willers

-Leo

-Andre

-Ragnar D.

-Hugh A.

-Henry Rearden

-Francisco D.

-Howard Roark

-John Galt

I agree about the Hugh and Andre switch. But I still feel Ragnar had a greater significance than Hugh. Maybe I'm being biased when I say this, but then, why don't most people in this site support Hugh, when they go on about how great Danneskjold was?

Is this suddenly a popularity thing? Is it because he's "old"? Suddenly I want to delve into this. I might even start a new forum topic for it. hehe.

I think Galt was the man Rand could look up to and admire intellectually

If he can be thought of, he can be real.

BRAVO! I agree 100 percent!

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